A LENGTHY waiting list for hospital treatment has been branded “a ticking timebomb” by a worried MSP.

Labour man Neil Bibby hit out after it was revealed that almost 190,000 patients in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) are awaiting treatment.

Of these, around 17,000 have faced a delay of more than a year.

Mr Bibby, whose West Scotland remit includes Renfrewshire, said: “These astounding figures are nothing short of a disaster, exposing once and for all what an abject failure the SNP’s NHS Recovery Plan has been.

“Staff are working tirelessly to make ends meet and deliver the best possible standard of care but they simply cannot keep up.

“The Health Secretary must get a grip on this ticking timebomb and deliver a recovery plan that is truly fit for purpose.”

The Scottish Government said the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is adding to existing winter pressures on the NHS.

A spokesperson added: “Health boards are having to make tough decisions and prioritise urgent care, including cancer treatment.

“The pandemic has led to a build-up of numbers waiting for treatment. This is why we developed the NHS Recovery Plan, setting out plans and ambitions for the next five years, backed by more than £1billion of funding.

“It is absurd to brand this a failure less than five months after it was published, while we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.”

Bosses at NHSGGC said staff have been working “tirelessly” to ensure all urgent trauma, emergency and cancer surgery has continued throughout the pandemic.

A spokesperson added: “We apologise to any patient who has been waiting longer than they would like for their elective procedure, tests or appointment.

“As part of our prioritisation protocol, all cases are reviewed by clinicians to ensure high priority cases are seen as quickly as possible. However, we appreciate the impact delays to routine appointments and procedures can have on a patient.

“We are working extremely hard to reduce these times but, in the meantime, we would advise any patient who has concerns about their condition deteriorating to approach their GP for further advice in the first instance.”