The ACT government is injecting $60 million into the health budget to stave of potential job or service cuts later in the year, minister Rachel Stephen-Smith has said.
Opposition health spokeswoman Vicki Dunne said the financial "sugar hit" was evidence the government had blown its health budget and was now scrambling to avoid cuts in the lead up to October's ACT election.
Ms Stephen-Smith fronted reporters on Thursday following an announcement that extra funds would be allocated to Canberra Health Service in the government's mid-year budget review, which will be handed down next week.
She could not articulate exactly how or where the money would be spent, but said it would help the hospital cope with increased patient demand.
Last year's horror flu season had stretched hospital resources and "put pressure" on Canberra Health Service's budget bottom line, she said.
"This is ensuring that we can maintain our beds, we can maintain our staff members and we can continue to meet our elective surgery targets," she said.
"What we saw last winter was the busiest flu season in 10 years. That means more surgery beds, more people coming on, more locums, more agency nurses.
"What we don't want to say to them [Canberra Health Services] halfway through this year is 'you have to cut back on your elective surgery and you need to cut back on staff in order to meet targets'.
"This is really about saying 'we're not going to ask you to cut back' and we're going to acknowledge the pressure that you have seen."
Ms Stephen-Smith said the cash injection didn't mean the government would stop searching for ways to improve the efficiency of it's underperforming public hospital system.
The latest Productivity Commission report, published last week, showed Canberra's public hospital emergency departments ranked last in the nation on a number of key indicators.
Mrs Dunne dismissed the funding boost to Canberra Health Services as a "sugar hit".
"It is unclear what the minister is going to spend this money on," she said.
"It seems she is going to spend $60 million in the last three months of the year, which probably means ... that the health budget is blown and this is stopping up the gaps so that they aren't in a situation where they have to stop providing services."
Mrs Dunne said having "neglected health for the best part of a decade", the government was now scrambling to support the hospital system in the lead up October's election.