HUMZA Yousaf has met with the woman who interrupted his speech at the SNP independence convention in Dundee.

Theresa Mallett suffered lifechanging injuries after undergoing botched surgery for sciatica by surgeon Professor Sam Eljamel.

Mallett raised the issue during the First Minister’s maiden speech to members as leader at the SNP’s independence convention on June 24.

Yousaf left the stage in Caird Hall to speak with Mallett who was initially booed for her interruption by SNP delegates. 

The SNP chief then said: "Folks, let’s not boo" and exited the stage to speak directly to the woman one-on-one in the seating area, pausing proceedings for around five minutes.

On Monday, Yousaf met with the 61-year-old from Glenrothes at her home.

Mallett is one of the hundreds of patients thought to have been harmed while the doctor was working at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

She said the First Minister "appeared to be listening" to her concerns and requests, and said he would look into her health care "urgently."

She also said Yousaf told her a public inquiry "was not off the table."

Mallett said: "I reminded him that this wasn't just about me, this is about 117 patients failed by NHS Tayside.

"I have made it clear, in no uncertain terms, that it's a public inquiry that I want, the patients need, and the public must see.

"A public inquiry would get people under oath, to give evidence and find out who did what, and when.

"And to make sure it doesn't happen again."

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Minutes of an NHS Tayside meeting, released by the Scottish Government under Freedom of Information, revealed the health board had seen an “escalating number of complaints involving Professor Eljamel”.

But these added that the doctor had been “under significant pressure in recent years”, due to factors such as a “deterioration in the quantity and quality of junior staff support”, increase numbers of patients and the Scottish Government’s waiting times guarantee.

“During that meeting, Dr Eljamel seems to get off practically scot-free,” Douglas Ross said raising the issue at FMQ’s at Holyrood on Thursday, The Tory leader told how Mallett and other patients “want answers” and are “demanding a public inquiry”.

He went on to challenge Yousaf to tell Mallett and “all the victims of Dr Eljamel why he refused to grant that public inquiry”.

Yousaf stressed his sympathy for the “trauma” patients have “undoubtedly suffered at the hands of Professor Eljamel”.

And he said, while a public inquiry had not been ruled out, there may be other ways of getting answers quicker.

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He also told MSPs it was “very, very unlikely” the doctor would co-operate with an inquiry.

Yousaf said: “Professor Eljamel is not in this country. He is practising, I believe, as a doctor elsewhere – overseas, abroad.

“The likelihood of Professor Eljamel, I think, co-operating with any public inquiry is very, very low.”

He added: “A public inquiry hasn’t been ruled completely off the table, but what we’re seeking to do with all the victims of Eljamel is can we get them the answers they deserve in a way that is quicker, more expeditious, than going through a public inquiry?”

Ross said staff at NHS Tayside also appeared to have raised concerns about the doctor back in 2009 but were “warned not to speak out”.

The Tory said: “Complaints were mounting from victims but, in many cases, were dismissed.

“Complaints were growing as well from NHS Tayside staff, who appear to have originally raised the alarm back in 2009, but health care professionals say they were warned not to speak out.

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“The First Minister is saying a public inquiry is not off the table, but he needs to be clearer, he needs to say it is on the table, it is going to happen.”

Ross added: “The actions of Dr Eljamel ruined people’s lives, but the actions of the health board suggest a cover-up at the highest level.

“First Minister, doesn’t this simply demand a full public inquiry?”

Yousaf, a former health secretary, agreed it was an “incredibly serious issue” where “individuals have been left utterly traumatised”.

He told MSPs: “We will work with those individuals, those victims, those survivors, in order to try to get them the answers they absolutely deserve.

“Of course, a public inquiry is not ruled off the table but let’s look at how we can get them the answers they deserve as quickly as we possibly can.”