A funding crisis has hit revitalisation projects at state hospitals in the Eastern Cape, the Dispatch Online reported on Friday.

Some projects had already ground to a halt, and the health department was unable to plan for future developments.

The department was even struggling to fix broken air-conditioners in operating theatres.

“Revitalisation projects are at risk. There's just no money,” said acting head of infrastructure Mlamli Tuswa.

The department faced a R22 billion infrastructure and maintenance backlog, which was also crippling service delivery.

The figure had increased by R3bn in the past six months alone, leaving the department struggling to maintain its 1 200 facilities across the province.

Business Day reported that the Port Elizabeth hospital complex could offer only emergency surgery, and that only before 5pm on some days of the week, because of staff shortages. Some doctors had not been paid since January.

The complex includes Dora Nginza hospital, Livingston hospital, and the Port Elizabeth provincial hospital.

“The department of health has placed a moratorium on the appointment of new junior and specialist doctors, while at the same time not renewing the contracts of doctors,” the heads of units said in a joint statement. – Sapa