Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said the First Minister's NHS Treatment Time Guarantee is "in tatters" after new statistics showed it being breached for one in four patients - the biggest ever margin.
New figures from ISD Scotland reveal just 74.6% of patients were seen within the 12-week Treatment Time Guarantee in the quarter ending June 2018 - the worst performance recorded against this target.
In NHS Forth Valley the guarantee was met for only 56.1% of patients, followed by Grampian (59.4%) and Highland (61.7%).
A further 21,482 patients are still on the waiting list, having been there for more than 12 weeks.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
"The First Minister established a legally binding guarantee that people would receive treatment within 12 weeks but these statistics show that commitment is in tatters. Performance has plummeted to the worst on record and the sustained decline shows no sign of abating.
"People were told there would be redress on the 'rare occasions' things go wrong, but there is no sign of any solution for those who were systematically failed or those still waiting for treatment.
“Literally every week I have people come to see me who have been informed of the guarantee but ended up waiting over a year.
"The First Minister should issue an apology to the tens of thousands of people to whom her Treatment Time Guarantee has meant nothing. The Scottish Government must also urgently set out how it will turn performance around, given there is no end in sight to the recruitment crisis and staff are run off their feet on every shift."