NHS Grampian was Scotland’s worst performing health board when it came meeting key 18-week referral to treatment time in December last year, NHS figures show.
Data published yesterday reveals that more than one third of patients dealt with by the health board wait longer than 18 weeks.
The statistics showed 65.8% of patients were treated within the time span compared with a national average of 79.5%.
And even the national average figure was some way short of the 90% target for treatment.
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Grampian’s December figures were an improvement on the previous month (63.2%), but were down on last July (69.5%).
Alexander Burnett, Scottish Conservative MSP for Aberdeenshire West, said: “Grampian fares worse than any other health board in the country – with a third of patients referred waiting longer than 18 weeks for treatment.
“That is unacceptable and provides further evidence that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP are letting down the north-east. “
An NHS Grampian spokesman said: “We want to assure the public we will always see people as quickly as possible but unfortunately, in some specialties, our waiting times are higher than we would like.
“This is due to longstanding issues in recruiting to some specialist medical and nursing vacancies.
“As people would rightly expect, our first priority is always to see urgent or emergency cases.
“That does mean those with more routine cases may have to wait longer.”