Calls have been made for more cash to be injected into NHS Grampian after it was caught under-performing in 19 out of 23 key healthcare areas.
Figures obtained from the health board have revealed that its performance in numerous categories has been rated as “Red” or “Amber” in achieving improvement targets set by the Scottish Government.
Under Holyrood guidelines, 95% of patients referred urgently with a suspicion of cancer should begin treatment within 62 days of referral.
However in the months of April, May and June of this year, the north-east health body only delivered an 84.2% referral rate – more than 10% below the national standard.
Dr Jamie Weir, chairman of the north-east patient’s body PACT, said: “As far as cancer is concerned this is worrying.
“It means that if you have 100 people, you have about 16 of them not being referred within the reasonable time frame for diagnosis and treatment.
“It all comes back to the staffing levels at Grampian and the funding for Grampian for the level of activity necessary for its population.”
Waiting times for referrals was also highlighted as a major issue in the performance report submitted to the board.
The board expected 752 patients would be forced to wait more than 12 weeks to be referred over June, July and August, but in the end 1,139 patients were left waiting for more than 12 weeks.
Lewis Macdonald, north-east Labour MSP, said: “NHS Grampian is attempting to meet central government targets but without the resources to meet these.
“It is still under-funded to the tune of £17million according to the Scottish Government’s own formula, and it is no wonder that so many targets are being missed.”
One area that the board performed well in was achieving the ‘within-four-hours’ national standard for seeing patients at A&E.
In July, 97.1% of attendees were seen within the time limit, compared to the 95.8% average across the country.
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “The performance report submitted to board meetings is not an exhaustive list of our performance against all targets.
“It is a snapshot designed to highlight areas where we face challenges and explain what we are doing to meet those challenges.
“It uses a traffic light system as a quick guide; areas highlighted in red are those not currently meeting targets and where plans are being developed to address this.”