NHS GRAMPIAN has admitted it could be 2016 before a pain clinic is restored to Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin.
Difficulty in recruiting a new consultant means the health board had been unable to reintroduce the clinic at the end of 2013.
Mary Scanlon, Scottish Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, raised the issue after being contacted by constituents with concerns.
Ms Scanlon says she is disappointed with the latest response from NHS Grampian.
"Last year I was contacted by constituents explaining the time they have to spend travelling, often in extreme pain, from Moray to Aberdeen to been seen by pain specialists."
Richard Carey, Chief Executive of NHS Grampian, has apologised for the frustration and distress caused to patients.
In a letter to Ms Scanlon, he assured her that NHS Grampian was "working hard to resolve this and provide an adequate service for our Moray patients".
Mr Carey said the retirement of an associate specialist in April last year created a vacancy which was advertised on two sepearate occasions without success.
"The service is aware of trainees who may be interested in a consultant post in Grampian, however, they will not complete their training until 2016.
"As further re-advertisement at this time is unlikely to attract a suitable candidate, the service will re-advertise this post at the end of 2015 unless they become aware of interest from a suitable individual who is willing to relocate to Grampian.
"When a successful candidate is in post we will then be in a position to reinstate a pain clinic at Dr Gray’s."
Ms Scanlon said while she understands the recruitment problems which mean the clinic could not be opened last year, she is "incredibly concerned" that the date NHS Grampian are now working towards is 2016.
"This is an unacceptable timescale for the many patients in Moray who have to either suffer the long, painful journeys to Aberdeen or remain in Moray without the specialist care offered to other patients in Grampian," she said.
"I hope the health board can consider other options in the interim period such as getting a specialist to come to Moray on a regular basis each month to treat the patients in the greatest pain."
She plans to raise the issue with the Scottish Government in an effort to get the service reintroduced as soon as possible.