Beds have been lining the walls of Canberra Hospital's emergency department corridors, with some patients forced to spend more than 24 hours waiting to be moved to a ward or a proper bed.
Patients have reported that beds have often been used in the corridors, with signs made to number them and a staff station set up nearby, for at least the past month.
Recent patient Rachel said she had to spend 24 hours on a bed in the corridor before being sent to a ward.
She said there were about seven beds, each with a laminated sign indicating a number, lining the corridor near the ambulance bay.
Rachel said the bright lights and busy walkway made it almost impossible to get sleep and she was terrified when she was told she might have to stay another night.
"I had people walking past throughout the day saying 'Oh you're still here, I'm so sorry'," she said
"I felt like I was part of the furniture. It was horrible, you've got absolutely no privacy and nowhere to put your personal belongings.
"We were horrified this could happen. I felt kind of trapped."
She said the nurses were doing the best they could in the circumstances, and she had been told the situation had been ongoing for a number of weeks.
Opposition health spokeswoman Vicki Dunne said she had also been contacted by patients who had spent long periods - up to 48 hours - on corridor beds.
She said the winter management plan should have been enacted earlier.
"I think what we're seeing is a slow response to the early uptake in the flu season and I think this shows the government and health authorities are not responsive enough to change plans," Mrs Dunne said.
"It shows the extraordinary pressure the Canberra Hospital is under and this is the time of the year where the pressure really bites."
A Canberra Health Services spokeswoman said the organisation was doing everything it could to avoid the use of corridor beds in the emergency department.
She did not directly answer how long or how often corridor beds were used.
"There has been greater demand on the Canberra Hospital emergency department, with increased presentations and increased acuity," she said.
"The number of beds that may need to be placed in the emergency department corridor is variable and is dependent on emergency department presentations and patient flow across the system."
She said presentations to the emergency department in June were up 13 per cent from June 2018.
"A considerable amount of work is under way to improve access and flow by reducing demand or implementing diversion strategies, maximising capacity and patient flow processes," the spokeswoman said.
"Canberra Health Services has implemented the 2019 winter management plan to cover the period of increased seasonal demand."
Australian Medical Association ACT president Antonio Di Dio said it was an example of how people who work in emergency departments do everything they can to get the job done.
He said the hospital should provide data showing how often corridor beds were used.
"If it happens on a regular basis then it speaks to a clear lack of resourcing or clear lack of management of the bed block phenomenon," Dr Di Dio said.