NICOLA Sturgeon has blasted the Tories, accusing them of “utterly disgraceful” behaviour after they called for Health Secretary Jeane Freeman to be sacked. 

The Tories made the call after an administrative error led to 18,000 shielded Scots being accidentally sent a letter saying it would be safe to go outside today. The actual date that should have been on the letter - sent by the NHS National Services in April - is June 18.

In a statement sent out this morning, Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw said: “Jeane Freeman was already on borrowed time before coronavirus hit.

“But as this crisis has unfolded, a number of issues have unfolded on her watch which were completely avoidable, and enough is enough.

“The testing structure under the SNP has been a disaster, to the point where care homes have been left in the lurch, and now she can’t even say when hospital staff will be routinely tested.

“The misplaced loyalty shown by the First Minister to her health secretary is having a negative impact on the NHS.

“A litany of problems had built up before, not least infection deaths of children at the SNP’s flagship hospital in Glasgow, and the continued unacceptable delays of the new Sick Kids in Edinburgh.

“These have been compounded by a dismal performance during the pandemic too.

Nicola Sturgeon has to take the blinkers off and find someone who can actually get on top of these problems.”

Asked about the Tory leader’s comments, the First Minister said  calling for the health secretary to be sacked in the middle of a pandemic was “just party politics at its worst”.

Speaking at the daily coronavirus briefing, Sturgeon said: “I think the Scottish Tories’ statement this morning is absolutely and utterly disgraceful. But unfortunately, I don't find it surprising, and I say this more in sorrow than in anger. 

“For the last few weeks the Scottish Tories have seemed to me to be not very interested at all in the real issues that we are grappling with and dealing with here. 

"They have seemed to me to be interested only in party politics and trying to undermine a health secretary who is literally working around the clock to deal with the most difficult issue that any of us have ever dealt with, and actually I think that kind of approach says more about the Scottish Tories than it does about the health secretary, or about the Scottish Government, and I would say they should be ashamed of themselves but I'm not entirely sure they have any shame. based on the statement this morning.”