MSPs on a Holyrood committee have revealed that it is split on whether new laws should be brought in giving NHS patients a legal waiting time guarantee.

Most members of the Scottish parliament’s health committee said they were “not persuaded” the legislation was the best way to improve patients’ rights.

And there was a warning that it could cause confusion.

However, some MSPs on the committee believe the legislation - being put forward by the Scottish government - could lead to a renewed focus on patients’ rights.

As the committee was divided on the issue, MSPs said they could not make a recommendation as to whether Holyrood should back the general principles of the proposed new law.

The Patient Rights (Scotland) Bill aims to bring in a 12-week treatment time guarantee to ensure that patients do not wait longer than that from a course of treatment being agreed to the starting of the treatment.

The legislation also proposes to establish a patient advice and support service, as well as a legal right to complain.

But after examining the proposals, the health committee said it was “divided on the appropriateness of using primary legislation as a vehicle to promote patient rights in Scotland”.

The committee report said: “Some members consider that the bill, as introduced, will not contribute significantly to the goal of achieving a patient-focused health service.”

And they added that it “may potentially cause confusion regarding the legal rights of patients”.

The report stated: “Some members feel that the bill has the potential to offer a renewed focus on patient rights, including a new treatment time guarantee and an enhanced patient advice and support service.

“However, the majority of the committee is not persuaded by the evidence which has been advanced to date - that primary legislation is the most appropriate means of promoting patient rights.”