The patient

Ann, from Aberdeen, finally got the diagnosis she had been waiting for in January.

After two years of tests it should have been a relief with recovery in sight.

Instead, she feels she has become a victim of the waiting lists controversy, with her operation now delayed until the summer, and all the while she has to endure poor health.

Ann was told in the new year she would need to have her gall bladder removed with her consultant outlining the possibility of an operation within three months in Glasgow, Dundee or Edinburgh.

She received a letter outlining a target date for the operation of April 11.

"Naturally I was very pleased about this as my illness is worsening and resulted in an emergency admittance earlier that month," she said.

Ann, who lives alone, started to make plans for her daughter to come home from Australia to be around at the time.

But her plans were thrown into chaos by a phone call from the health board.

She said: "I was asked if I would go elsewhere in Scotland to have my operation and I said no. I was also asked if I would consider a different surgeon and again I said no as I had confidence in the consultant who said the operation was his speciality.

"I was told that because I was unavailable I would have to wait longer. I pointed out that I was not unavailable and I could go to hospital at short notice or take a cancellation."

She then received a new target date for the operation of June 14 with the letter outlining her "period of unavailability" from March 13 to May 5.

Ann added: "It implies I am responsible for the wait, but I have been available since the date of diagnosis. It wouldn't have been so bad if I had never received the first letter and accepted the wait, but it strikes me as a way to manipulate waiting time statistics."

She said the delay could have cost her dearly given that she was going to pay for her daughter to return to Scotland.