Royal Cornwall Hospital: 'Twelve-hour wait for bed'
People with minor injuries are being turned away from a hospital that has seen up to a 12-hour wait in A&E for beds.
Royal Cornwall Hospital in Treliske, Truro, said it had been forced to make the "unprecedented" move following "sustained pressure".
It is urging all non-emergency patients to consult their GPs or go to one of 11 minor injuries units in the county.
An outbreak of norovirus has led to the partial closure of two wards.
Allister Grant, medical director at Royal Cornwall Hospital, said turning people away was "absolutely unprecedented, we have not had to do before".
"The A&E Department has been under continuous sustained pressure over the Christmas period and New Year period.
"We have had patients waiting in the emergency department for beds for up to 12 hours and queues in the corridors," he said.
Mr Grant said an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug, norovirus, had closed two wards and meant some staff members were also off sick.
"We are in a very dire situation," he said, adding extra staff had been drafted in at "extra rates" to fill the gaps.
He added: "We are urging people to use alternative services where they can and we have made significant provision elsewhere in the county for minor injuries.
"There are 11 minor injury units around the county and people will get a much faster service at these minor injury units. Lots of them have extended hours."
He urged patients to contact their GPs "as their first port of call for anything not life threatening".