SCOTLAND'S LibDem leader has claimed a Ukrainian refugee returned to Kyiv for treatment because the wait to see a GP in Scotland was so long.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton raised the case as he challenged Nicola Sturgeon problems in the health service during First Minister’s Questions on Thursday.

He said that last year, one in six people who were not able to secure a GP appointment carried out a procedure on themselves or had someone else do it.

The LibDems would not provide further information on the refugee in question when contacted.

Cole-Hamilton claimed: “Maria is 22 years old. She is a Ukrainian refugee who has been living in Scotland since the summer.

The National: EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - May 7: Scottish Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament after the rejection of a number of amendments he tabled during the Stage 3 (final stage) debate on the Age of Criminal

“She suffers from a hormonal thyroid condition which requires regular testing and treatment.

“But when she presented to her new GP, she faced an unexpected dilemma.

“The wait was so long that it actually made more sense for her to risk travelling back to a war zone to see her doctor in Kyiv, and so she did.

“The air raid sirens, the drone strikes and the cruise missile attacks of the Ukrainian capital were less daunting to Maria than the wait for treatment on Scotland’s NHS. That is appalling.

“These are the risks that people are taking for the sake of their health, and all for the want of basic access to primary care.

“Can I ask the First Minister, is she embarrassed by this?”

READ MORE: The people of Ukraine are clear - everywhere here is on the frontline

Sturgeon said she did not know the specifics of the case Cole-Hamilton was referring to.

She added: “We again continue to support general practice.

“There are more GPs per head of population in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK – 83 GPs per 100,000 population here compared to 63 in England, 63 in Wales, 75 in Northern Ireland.”

A further 3000 staff have been recruited for wider multi-disciplinary teams in primary care, she said.

The First Minister continued: “Access to GPs like access to other areas of the health service right now is challenging – and very challenging for some patients – and we continue to work to address that.”