In the NHS Borders area, it has been revealed that 12,927 people were stuck on a waiting list as of September 30, for eight key diagnostic tests, first outpatient appointment, and admission for inpatient or day case treatment.
Of these, 1,401 had been waiting for more than a year.
Mr Smyth said: “These astounding figures are nothing short of a disaster for our region, exposing once and for all what an abject failure the SNP Government’s NHS Recovery Plan has been.
“Our health and care staff across the region are working tirelessly to deliver the best possible standard of care, but they simply cannot keep up as there just aren’t enough of them.
“Thousands of people waiting more than a year for basic healthcare undermines the fundamental principles of our NHS.
“The SNP failed to deliver a successful catch-up programme while Covid rates were lower, meaning that services across the Borders were already stretched to breaking point before the new variant hit.
“Now we are in the midst of a full-scale crisis, with hundreds of patients languishing on waiting lists for over a year and counting.
“While Covid has exacerbated the challenges facing our NHS, many of the problems causing these waiting lists were there long before the pandemic, such as a shortage of GPs, carers and other key health workers.
“The Health Secretary must get a grip on this ticking timebomb, and deliver a recovery plan that is truly fit for purpose.”