At least a dozen NHS construction projects across Scotland have been delayed or paused because of budget pressures.

The Scottish Government has told health boards that a new infrastructure plan will be published in the Spring and that in the meantime they should prioritise essential maintenance issues.

Casualties of the delay include the network of 10 treatment centres across Scotland. Many of them were already behind schedule.

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The SNP-Green administration's aim to was to have the centres delivering an additional 40,000 inpatient and day case procedures by 2025/26.

They were a major plank of the Scottish Government’s plan to bring down waiting lists, particularly for orthopaedic operations.

According to the BBC, other delayed projects include the new eye hospital in Edinburgh, replacement hospitals in Fort William and Monklands in Airdrie, and a refurbishment of the mental health ward at Dr Gray's in Elgin.

Dr Iain Kennedy, chair of BMA Scotland, told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme the delays did not come as a surprise.

He said a number of NHS buildings had been a “bit crumbly” for some time.

“BMA Scotland have been saying for some time, that the NHS in Scotland fundamentally does not have the resources to be sustainable for the future. The NHS in Scotland lacks resources for day to day activities. And now it is also very clear that the NHS in Scotland lacks the resources for capital projects.”

Dr Kennedy told the programme that the Scottish Government would need to start a “national conversation” about the NHS in Scotland.

“And that conversation needs to be open, honest, transparent and needs to involve all stakeholders,” he added. “So that includes the workforce. It must involve patients and the public and we need to ask the public what they need in their health service.

“And in the meantime, politicians need to stop raising expectations with the public for a service that is currently not deliverable on the resources that are currently there.”

“We need to modernise,” he said. “We can't have this free buffet for all, where it's an all you can eat buffet. That has to stop because we're currently not coping.”

"We definitely need to prioritise and say what we will provide and what we won't provide."

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Scottish Labour Health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said “With almost 1 in 6 Scots stuck on an NHS waiting list, we cannot afford any more SNP NHS chaos.

“New National Treatment Centres were at the heart of the SNP’s NHS Recovery Plan and these delays spell disaster for waiting lists in Scotland.

“This is yet more broken promises from an SNP government with no plan.

“The SNP must come clean on when these projects will get back on track and how they will ensure Scots can get the treatment they need in the meantime.”

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Sandesh Gulhane MSP said: “This is another hammer blow for Scotland’s NHS.

“Our health service is already hopelessly overstretched due to the SNP’s woeful workforce planning – and now it is set to pay for the Nationalists’ financial mismanagement too.

“Despite record UK Government block funding, the SNP’s years of wasteful spending and sluggish growth has created an enormous black hole in Scotland’s finances, leading to last month’s tax-and-axe budget, and now the apparent shelving of new NHS building projects.

“Humza Yousaf’s flimsy Covid recovery plan rested on new treatment centres being built across the country to reduce waiting lists. If some of these are to be mothballed, it will be devastating. The First Minister and Neil Gray as the latest SNP health secretary must come clean on what they are planning.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "From a new cancer centre and eye hospital in Edinburgh to the replacement hospital in Fort William, and the maternity ward at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, up and down the country, the SNP are breaking their promises to the people of Scotland.

"So many Scots are waiting in pain for treatment that is now further away than ever.

"It is so shortsighted because delays to treatment can turn a small problem into a huge one.

"It doesn't matter which SNP MSP is currently health secretary. The nationalists are bad for your health."

A Scottish government spokeswoman described the capital funding position as "extremely challenging".

She added: "The UK government did not inflation-proof its capital budget which has resulted in nearly a 10% real-terms cut in the Scottish government's capital funding over the medium-term between 2023-24 and 2027-28.

"Our emphasis for the immediate future will be on addressing backlog maintenance and essential equipment replacement.

"As a result of the cut in our capital budget, a revised infrastructure investment plan will be published in the spring and all due consideration will be given to what projects can be included within that revised plan."