More than 3,000 north-east residents have waited more than six months for treatment – missing a key target, new figures show.
The statistics revealed 3,045 people in the NHS Grampian area have waited longer than 12 weeks after referral – the Scottish Government target time.
Of those, 32 people had to wait more than two years to get treatment by the board.
The longest wait for one person was 1,015 days – almost three years.
North East Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles said he was shocked by the figures – released under freedom of information powers – and said Holyrood should give NHS Grampian more resources.
NHS Grampian acknowledged it was falling short of the targets and said it was down to recruitment problems.
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Mr Rumbles said: “I’m shocked so many people are still waiting, sometimes years after being referred.
“NHS Grampian is the worst-funded health board in Scotland per head of population, and these figures show how stark the situation is.
“I have repeatedly asked Health Minister Jeane Freeman to give NHS Grampian the resources it needs to get back on track, but no matter how dire the situation gets, it falls on deaf ears.
“Meanwhile it is the patients and hardworking staff who suffer.”
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “We are committed to meeting the waiting times targets laid down by the Scottish Government and acknowledge our current performance falls short of that.
“This is due to longstanding issues in recruiting to some specialist medical and nursing vacancies.
“Where we do not achieve the waiting standards set, we actively manage the lists and ensure patients are treated as soon as possible and in line with their clinical priority.”
The 12-week target was introduced in 2012.
In the period of April and June last year, it was met 74.6% of the time in Scotland.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The health secretary has been clear we want to stop anyone from waiting too long for treatment, and that it is not acceptable for this to happen.
“That is why Scottish Government recently launched its new £850 million waiting times improvement plan.
“The plan sets out action to increase capacity, clinical effectiveness and efficiency and design and implement new models of care.
“We will continue to work with boards to ensure this additional funding delivers the substantial and sustainable improvements needed.”