Under the legislation outlined in Scotland's Patients Rights Bill, health boards will have to ensure patients are treated within 12 weeks of agreeing to a treatment.
But BMA Scotland has warned that the 12-week treatment time target will have serious and negative consequences for patients and the NHS.
BMA Scotland deputy chairman Dr Charles Saunders said the target will create an 'inflexible system' that could force doctors to rush patients into treatment.
He said: 'In order to achieve the new 12-week treatment time targets the Bill will require that patients be sent to hospitals miles away, instead of waiting to be seen closer to home.'
Dr Saunders warned that the legislation will increase bureaucracy and increase costs for health boards.
'With boards facing a real term reduction in their budgets in the next few years, how can the government expect them to fund this initiative without impacting on patient care?' he said.
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