Gauteng residents should make more use of clinics to help ease a strain on hospitals in the province, health MEC Hope Papo said on Thursday.
"We call on our people to make use of clinics for minor ailments and to collect chronic medication, to ease pressure on our hospitals," he said in a statement.
Gauteng has more than 300 clinics and 32 community health centres which offer primary health care to patients.
All community health centres offer maternity services, and 26 of them are open 24-hours a day.
They provide services for patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, epilepsy, tuberculosis, and those on antiretroviral treatment.
Department spokesman Simon Zwane said the number of people visiting Gauteng hospitals had risen sharply in the past three months, putting pressure on health facilities.
Outpatient departments of central hospitals
"The number of people who were attended to at the outpatient departments of central hospitals grew to more than 2.6 million (2 671 465) between January and April this year," he said in a statement.
"This is an increase of more than 600 000 when compared to the 2.038 million (2 038 600) recorded in the three months period between October and December 2012."
The four central hospitals in Gauteng are Steve Biko, Dr George Mukhari, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic and Chris Hani Baragwanath.
The number of people treated at district and regional hospitals also increased, with 762 968 patients treated at district hospitals and 1 895 496 at regional hospitals in the last quarter.
In the preceding quarter, 577 202 people were treated at district hospitals and 1 441 461 at regional hospitals.
The reason for the increase was that patients were being referred by other provinces such as Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West.
In addition, countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland also referred critical patients to the facilities.
Zwane said demand for orthopaedic operations now exceeded all other surgical operations conducted in the province, with more than 10 000 operations carried out each year.