Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today said the First Minister's NHS Treatment Time Guarantee is hardly worth the paper it is written on after new statistics showed it being breached for one in five patients.
New figures from ISD Scotland reveal just 80.4% of patients were seen within the 12-week Treatment Time Guarantee in the quarter ending December 2017 - only marginally above the worst performance ever recorded against this target.
They also show 32,191 patients waited, or are still waiting, more than 12 weeks.
Meanwhile, the 18-week referral to treatment time was met for just 82.5% of patients.
Mr Cole-Hamilton commented:
"The First Minister gave a legally binding guarantee that people would receive treatment within 12 weeks but the statistics today confirm that it is hardly worth the paper it is written on.
"This target was missed for more than 32,000 patients in the last quarter. Nicola Sturgeon said there would be 'a straightforward system of redress, on the rare occasions when things go wrong', but no system could cope with failure on this scale.
"SNP ministers are entirely responsible for this. NHS staff are run off their feet on every shift because ministers have overseen a recruitment crisis to arise. Health boards are dealing with unprecedented cuts and we haven't seen anywhere near the investment required to transform mental health services.
"The First Minister must address these failings and apologise to the tens of thousands of patients to whom her treatment guarantee meant nothing."