Ambulances with patients inside had to wait for hours outside Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth over the weekend, as staff struggled to deal with an increased pressure on services.
Health managers said with office parties in full swing and temperatures low, there was a backlog of arrivals to A&E.
ITV News Meridian can exclusively reveal that at one point on Friday, there was a line of 23 ambulances queuing outside, unable to hand patients over to A&E.
The longest delay for a patient was five and a half hours, and a significant number had to wait over an hour.
Dr John Knighton, Medical Director at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said it has been an exceptionally difficult weekend for staff.
Hospital bosses say its priority is the care and the safety of patients and are reminding people the A&E provides emergency care for patients with issues such as breathing difficulties, loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, serious accidents and severe bleeding.
They are advising people with non-emergency and minor injuries to seek treatment at the local minor injury units or by calling 111 for medical and nursing advice. People can also speak to their local pharmacist or GP.
The 111 service is available 24 hours a day and offers advice on the most appropriate option for treatment.
- You can watch Richard Slee's report below:
Minor treatment units include:
St Mary's NHS Treatment Centre, Milton Road, Portsmouth. Telephone: 023 9285 8425
Minor Injuries Unit at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, Bury Road, Gosport. Telephone: 023 9279 4753 or 023 9279 4754
Petersfield Hospital Minor Injuries Unit, Petersfield Hospital, Swan Street, Petersfield. Telephone: 023 82 310 595