People in Glasgow are being urged to only attend A&E if their situation is urgent or life threatening as a result of a spike in visits over the last few days.
The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) board have apologised to those waiting significant periods in hospitals and have issued the warning.
It comes after increases in attendance caused further pressure to staff during what they say is an “already challenging period”.
Advice includes using NHS24 or scheduling an appointment with the Minor Injuries Unit.
The warning comes as latest figures show the A&E waiting time targets, set by the Scottish Government have again been missed.
Public Health Scotland (PHS) statistics indicate that as of December 11, only 62.4% of people who went to A&E were seen and subsequently admitted or discharged within that time.
A total of 25,956 people in Scotland attended A&E departments across the country in the latest figures.
Of those, 3,048 spent more than eight hours in an emergency department, with 1,153 patients spending more than 12 hours there.
Dr Scott Davidson, NHSGGC deputy medical director for acute services, said: “We understand there may have been in increase in A&E attendances following the bad weather over the last week but we would ask patients to seek out the most appropriate treatment service for your needs.
“If you have had a slip on the ice you can call NHS24 first to ensure any visit to A&E is essential. The NHS24 team may transfer your to our Virtual A&E nurses who can provide advice over the phone or schedule an appointment at a Minor Injuries Unit.”
He added: “We apologise to any patients who have had to wait longer for emergency care as our hospitals are currently facing significant pressures.
“Our staff are working relentlessly to ensure patients receive the best care possible and an alternative service to A&E may be the best option for your condition.
“Patients can utilise local pharmacies, GPs, NHS Inform and the virtual A&E service that may result in being treated faster than at A&E and helps ring-fence A&E for those with life-threatening injuries and very urgent illnesses.”
Dr Davidson also thanked members of staff across the healthboard for “continual hard work” as well as members of the public “for their understanding around the potential longer wait times to be treated at our A&E departments.”
NHSGGC offer a Virtual A&E service with more information available on the website.