The sector is "on the brink of collapse" due to a high number of vacancies, low trainee numbers and increasing sc* demand, the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) warned.
The three main opposition parties at Holyrood attacked the SNP Government, accusing it of creating a "full blown workforce crisis" in the NHS.
A shortage of radiologists has put cancer patients on a month-long waitlist
Clinical radiologists are doctors who interpret X-rays, scans and other medical images to diagnose disease and injury.
Research reveals that, typically, eight per cent of radiology posts are unfilled, while nine in 10 hospitals cannot cope with the daily workload of producing reports for images.
In a further blow, just two of Scotland's 14 health boards are able to offer interventional radiology – minimally invasive pinhole procedures – for 24 hours a day due to a shortage of specialists.
It means that such procedures – used in the treatment of road traffic accident victims or after childbirth – are only available at certain times in most hospitals.
Around 8 percent of radiology posts are unfulfilled
RCR spokesman Dr Grant Baxter, consultant radiologist and chairman of the college's standing Scottish committee, said: "Having been a doctor for 34 years, I have never seen it as bad as this.
It's clear the SNP has fundamentally failed to train enough radiologists, and patients – including cancer sufferers – are the ones paying the price
Donald Cameron, Scottish Tories
"Scottish radiology is on the brink of collapse and if that happens there will be no medical diagnoses or surgical operations at all, since none can occur without radiologists interpreting the scans and X-rays.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
"A perfect storm of increased demand, no significant increase in consultant numbers or trainees, chronically unfilled posts and a tsunami of expected retirements in the next three years means that we need a sustainable solution now for the sake of our patients. Patient safety is at risk."
Between 2010 and 2015, the number of radiologists in Scotland rose by just four per cent from 291 to 304, while it increased by 16 per cent UK-wide.
Shocking charts show the NHS could be in crisis
Thu, February 9, 2017
Do these charts prove the NHS is in trouble?
1 of 9
A doctor warned the sector is on the brink of collapse
Scotland has eight radiologists per 100,000 population – below the European average of 12 and significantly less than Greece, which has 25 – but a fifth of the current workforce is expected to retire in the next five years.
The RCR is now calling on the SNP to support recruitment from overseas to fill vacant posts, increase trainee numbers and improve technology, enabling offsite image interpretation. The warning follows similar concerns raised by a raft of other professional bodies including the Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Anaesthetists.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Donald Cameron said: "This is an exceptionally grim warning from the people who know best.
"It's clear the SNP has fundamentally failed to train enough radiologists, and patients – including cancer sufferers – are the ones paying the price."
There are 8 radiologists per 100,000 people in Scotland
He added: "This mirrors concerns about staffing numbers within nursing, consultancy and a range of other specialisms right across the NHS. The SNP has been in charge of health for a decade, and must take full responsibility for these workforce shortages.
"It was well warned about training numbers and an ageing and increasing population, but consciously chose not to listen."
Scottish Labour's health spokesman Anas Sarwar said: "A decade of SNP mismanagement has created a full-blown workforce crisis in our NHS.
"Scotland's radiologists are the latest group to speak out about the gaps in our health service – and it will be patients who lose out."
Hospital viewers slam Jeremy Hunt
Thu, January 12, 2017
Viewers tuning in to new BBC series Hospital, which focusses on the pressures faced by the NHS, have hit out at Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
1 of 11
Hospital viewers slam Jeremy Hunt as cancer patient is denied surgery ‘This is your fault'
A fifth of the radiologists workforce is expected to retire within five years
Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "SNP Ministers are simply failing to step up to the challenge.
"Instead of sabre-rattling over independence, they should face up to the serious challenges facing vital services within our communities."
Health Secretary Shona Robison said: "Prompt cancer treatment is vital – and that is why we have set rigorous standards in this area. Under this government, the number of consultant clinical radiologists working in Scotland's NHS has increased by 46 per cent and the number of radiography staff has risen by over 24 per cent."
She added: "We're committed to working closely with the NHS, including staff representatives like the Royal College of Radiologists, to ensure this investment sees the expected increase in the number of specialist radiotherapists working in our health service."