Children have been kept waiting for more than a year for some hospital appointments in Aberdeen.
Figures have revealed some youngsters waited 58 weeks for an outpatient appointment at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital – the longest waiting time across NHS Grampian.
The figures show some patients requiring an appointment with paediatrics orthoptics at RACH waited 58 weeks for the appointment.
Statistics said 75% of patients seen in the last six weeks waited that long.
The second highest was also at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital for paediatrics plastic surgery appointments, at 57 weeks.
Under the 18 weeks target, health boards should ensure that patients are seen at an outpatient appointment within 12 weeks of receiving a referral.
Figures published on the NHS Grampian website show the number of weeks 75% of outpatients waited.
The three longest waiting times for adults were 53 weeks for an orthopaedic lower limb appointment at Woodend General Hospital.
An orthopaedic foot and ankle appointment at the same hospital would see a new outpatient wait 51 weeks to be seen.
Woodend also has a 50-week wait for a new outpatient orthopaedic hand appointment.
Lewis Macdonald, North-east Labour MSP, said: “I think it’s essential that waiting times should reflect need.
“Therefore the most urgent cases should be seen first. But telling children who have a condition that requires referral that it will be a year until they can be seen is not what any family wants to hear.
“The NHS needs to think hard about what else it can do.
“And the Scottish Government needs to make sure that it’s providing the funding that’s required.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Excessively long waits for hospital care is not acceptable, particularly in relation to children.
“To ensure our NHS meets the needs of the people of Scotland, we have made an additional £50m available this financial year to NHS Boards to reduce waiting times for all stages of a patient’s journey.
“NHS Grampian has received £4.9m of this funding to make improvements in outpatient waits by this spring.”
A spokesman for NHS Grampian said: “The public should be assured that we will always see people as quickly as possible but, as they would rightly expect, our first priority must always be urgent or emergency cases.
“Unfortunately, in some specialties, our waiting times for routine outpatient appointments is higher than we would like and we are working on a variety of new initiatives and on recruiting additional staff to help address these.
“It is essential that if someone’s condition worsens they contact their GP in the first instance so that they can be reassessed.
“In order to keep people as informed as possible while we work to alleviate these issues, we publish up-to-date average waiting times for all specialties on our website which can be accessed at nhsgrampian.org/waitingtimes.”