Katy Gallagher

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

The ACT government says it will be slowing Canberra's rapidly expanding healthcare budget, after a new report showed health spending has doubled over the past 10 years.

The new data, from a report released on March 24 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, showed the ACT government's health funding had increased by more than 7 per cent annually on average between 2002 and 2012.

In 2001-02, the territory spent $1417 per person on health services, which grew by 2011-12 to $2888 per person - the second-highest in the country.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said the high level of growth was unsustainable and she would take moves to slow the increase.

''It's clear we have to look at new ways to manage our growing health costs,'' she said.

The push comes after ACT Treasurer Andrew Barr warned in March that the territory's finances had a real risk of going into recession.

Ms Gallagher had said in January that the health budget appeared to be growing too rapidly.

She said part of the problem was ACT residents' reluctance to use private health insurance, despite the territory having the highest take-up rate in the country.

The AIHW report found the ACT's private health funding was the second-lowest in the country per capita, beaten only by the Northern Territory, which has just one private hospital.

Additionally, Canberra's non-government funding of hospitals actually went backwards over the past 10 years, the only state or territory to do so.

ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said the Labor government had created a hostile environment for private hospital investment.

''The evidence speaks for itself that under ACT Labor over the last 12 years, the private hospitals have not been encouraged to grow or flourish in Canberra,'' he said.

''Partly as a result our public hospitals are full and are experiencing increasing demand that is potentially unsustainable if it continues over the longer term.''

A spokesperson for the Little Company of Mary, which operates two of Canberra's private hospitals including Calvary, said it provided about 240 beds in total and had already begun planning a new private hospital in Bruce.

ACT Health Care Consumers Association executive director Darlene Cox said the large proportion of ACT revenue allocated to health was worrying.

But rather than cutting health services, she said, other options should be considered including incentives for ACT residents to use private health insurance.

''We do have to look at using money differently. There's a whole lot of waste and duplication in the system that we need to address,'' she said.

''I think if we're looking at identifying inefficiencies, we won't have to cut.''

Ms Gallagher said her government will deliver on the election promises it made in 2012, but after that it would be looking to make some savings in health.

''It's about managing the growth of health,'' she said.

''It might mean you don't have to grow the health budget at 8 per cent, you're growing it at 6 per cent.

She said she might look into incentives to encourage Canberrans to use private health insurance to bring down the cost to the budget.

''In the next 50 years health [will] consume the entire ACT budget if something doesn't happen.''