HUMZA Yousaf has refused to rule out a public inquiry into the case of a disgraced surgeon after a former patient disrupted his conference speech.
Theresa Mallett brought the SNP’s independence convention to a halt over the weekend when she called for a public inquiry into NHS Tayside’s handling of Sam Eljamel.
He is believed to have harmed hundreds of patients – including Ms Mallett, who suffered life-changing injuries after botched sciatica surgery at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.
Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, raised the issue at First Minister’s Question Time and urged Mr Yousaf to commit to a public inquiry.
The First Minister replied: “There are some open questions that I know patients want answered. I believe we can work with NHS Tayside to get those answers.
“A number of MSPs, by Douglas Ross, have requested a public inquiry.
“It’s not out of the question and it’s not off the table, but I think there might be other ways to find answers.”
The Scottish Tory leader told MSPs that the actions of Dr. Eliamel had “ruined the lives of the people.”
He added: “The First Minister says a public inquiry is not off the table but he needs to be clearer, he needs to say it is on the table and it will happen.”
Mr Yousaf told SNP members at the conference: “I am very clear that there is no way to independence except through the legal and democratic process. Why? Because that’s the way we actually become independent.”
He added: “This election gives us the opportunity to break through the congestion.”
“I believe that at this election the SNP should present the Scottish people with a manifesto for an independent Scotland.”
“And I propose in this manifesto – page one, line one – a simple, powerful statement to the people. It should read: ‘Vote the SNP for an independent Scotland’.”
“If the SNP wins this election, then the people have spoken. We will seek negotiations with the UK Government on how to give democratic meaning to Scotland’s independence.”
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