Scottish Labour has expressed concern about a key report into the NHS waiting-times scandal being diluted by chief executive Derek Feeley.

Jackie Baillie, the party's health spokeswoman, spoke out after reports that parts of a draft Audit Scotland report were deleted or rewritten after complaints from Mr Feeley.

The Sunday Herald reported that Mr Feeley pushed the public-spending watchdog to drop a key phrase that suggested a huge rise in patients classed as unavailable had disguised the inability of health boards to meeting waiting-list targets.

She said: "These revelations take the scandal of NHS waiting times and the resulting cover-up to a whole new level.

"This original draft is even more damning for the SNP Government than the one published, and it is no wonder those involved were so desperate to try to tone it down.

"These targets were put in place so Scottish patients could get the best possible treatment, but it appears Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Neil were prepared to collude with NHS bosses to cover up these failings rather than get it right."

The Government has stressed that Audit Scotland made the final decision about what appears in the reports, and a spokesman added: "In line with standard procedure, Audit Scotland asked us for comments on the draft report."

It said the watchdog had amended the report in the interests of accuracy.