Patients with cardiac conditions across the North-east have been forced to wait months to access life-saving technology because of 21 missing or broken heartbeat monitors.
NHS Grampian currently has a stock of 17 heartbeat-measuring monitors called Holter recorders – down from a total of 38 six years ago.
The portable gadgets, which cost around £1,800 each, are given to patients to wear for 24 hours to provide doctors with vital data which is then used to prescribe treatments.
But eight of the devices lent out to patients by NHS Grampian have never been returned, while a further 13 of the devices have broken since 2012.
A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said in 2012 the waiting time for a Holter monitor was around four weeks, but a combination of the devices breaking and not being returned has resulted in much longer delays.