More than 200 people a day have been to the Canberra Hospital emergency department in the past week, prompting a reminder from ACT Health for people to visit only if there is an emergency.
Figures show there have been 1436 presentations to Canberra Hospital ED in the past week.
In the first half of the month, the department dealt with more than 5700 people.
ACT Health director-general Peggy Brown said there were 11,395 ED presentations last month.
She urged Canberrans to save the ED for genuine medical emergencies.
The call comes after Canberra Hospital revealed last month the hospital had been operating with an average occupancy rate of 95 per cent this year.
Dr Brown warned ED visits were growing at a higher rate than Canberra's overall population growth, which was placing "enormous pressure" on resources primarily used to treat medical emergencies.
She said ACT Health was encouraging people with non-life threatening or non-limb threatening injuries to use alternative services such as walk-in centres at the Tuggeranong or Belconnen community health centres, their GP, healthdirect or CALMS or the National Home Doctor Service for non-urgent after hours care.
Canberrans can also view current activity levels at Calvary and Canberra hospital emergency departments by visiting www.health.act.gov.au/LiveEDactivity.
Dr Brown said people who were seriously ill and had a medical emergency should still call 000.
For all non-life or non-limb threatening injuries, Canberrans should use any of the following services:
- Community pharmacist – your local pharmacist is qualified to give you expert advice on many health issues.
- healthdirect – call 24 hours a day seven days a week on 1800 022 222 for free expert advice and reassurance.
- Walk-in centres – for one-off treatment of minor illness and injuries for those over the age of two, see a specialist nurse seven days a week. Walk-in centres are located in the Belconnen and Tuggeranong community health centres and are open from 7.30am to 10pm daily.
- GP surgery – for ongoing comprehensive healthcare for everyone, including those with acute problems, children under two years and those who have complex medical problems, your GP is your best option.
- CALMS on 1300 422 567, the call centre is open week nights from 6pm and all day weekends and public holidays, with CALMS clinics open from 8pm.
- National Home Doctor Service – 137425, from 6pm week nights to 12pm on Saturday and all day Sunday and public holidays. All National Home Doctor Service after hours GP home visits are bulk-billed.