Nearly 200 people in chronic pain died in the past five years while waiting for an appointment to treat the problem, new figures from Public Health Scotland show.
Pro-UK campaign group, Scotland in Union, described the figures as “shameful”.
Chronic pain is defined in the report as a pain that continues for more than three months, even with medication or treatment.
People passing away before getting an appointment at a pain clinic is one of 14 reasons why appointments are not taken up, affecting 197 people between September 2017 and June 2021.
According to the report the main reason why people miss appointments for chronic pain is that they do not attend.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “These are people who have tragically died in severe pain while desperately waiting for treatment.
“This simply should never happen.
“This is another shameful failure from the SNP when it comes to the running of Scotland’s health service.
“There are more than 2000 people waiting for a chronic pain appointment in Scotland, with hundreds on the list for months on end.
“For years, chronic pain patients have complained about the standard of service that has been provided under this SNP government.
“The SNP has been obsessed with the constitution when it should have focused on providing our NHS with the resources it needs.
“As part of the UK we have more to invest in the health service and this must be prioritised in the New Year.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said extra funding will be provided through the Chronic Pain Winter Support Fund to “enhance the capacity of pain management care”, with further details being announced “shortly”.
The funding is set to boost the support available for people with chronic pain to help them maintain their health and wellbeing in the months ahead.
The spokesperson added: “The latest published data on waiting times for chronic pain services demonstrate the continued progress health boards and pain services have continued to make despite the ongoing challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, with continued reduction in both the numbers and proportion of patients who waited longest to be seen.”