A "FUNERAL procession" was held outside Holyrood as the former patients of Professor Sam Eljamel demanded progress on the public inquiry into his actions.

Eljamel, who worked as a brain surgeon at NHS Tayside from 1995 until his suspension in 2013, is accused of a litany of harms and of leaving some ex-patients with life-altering injuries.

They include the removal of wrong body parts and the failure to perform intended surgeries.

A bagpiper played as campaigners placed a coffin in front of the Scottish Parliament, with some wearing bloodied surgeon’s scrubs and holding a banner which read “They dither, we die”.

Many others held signs with the number of Eljamel’s alleged victims: 172.

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A public inquiry into Eljamel’s actions was announced by the Scottish Government in September last year after years of demands from campaigners.

However, protesters said they wanted to see a chairperson appointed in order to allow the inquiry to progress.

Health Secretary Neil Gray attended the procession and was questioned by victims during a tense exchange outside Holyrood.

He said he hoped progress would be made by the inquiry within weeks.

The National:

However, former nurse Karen Ogg – who underwent a botched spine operation at the hands of Eljamel – said: “You hope you’re making progress – or you are making progress?

“Hope isn’t damn good enough anymore.”

Speaking after the exchange, Gray told reporters: “I wanted to offer my support to the victims of Sam Eljamel to let them know that we are making progress on the establishment of a public inquiry as soon as possible.

“I am hopeful that we can make a positive announcement in terms of the appointment of a chair in due course and I understand the need for answers in these cases because, as we are hearing so powerfully, people’s lives have been ruined and we’ve lost lives in the interim and people deserve to have answers.”

Eljamel is now believed to be operating in Libya, with ministers previously hinting the disgraced surgeon could eventually be extradited back to Scotland.

The National:

One campaigner told The National that he wanted to see justice and compensation for families.

Rod, whose mother-in-law suffered complications following a 12-hour brain tumour operation at the hands of Eljamel, said: “He should never have been allowed to leave the country.

“He got suspended and they knew something was wrong and yet he was able to leave.

“The NHS has got to take full responsibility. I would like to see justice and certainly compensation for families because the numbers speak for themselves.”

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Jules Rose – who was Eljamel’s final victim – said 166 days was too long to wait for any further timeline.

Her healthy tear gland was removed by the surgeon instead of her brain tumour.

“The Government are dithering and meanwhile time is running out,” she said.

“We are going to be dying by the time they appoint a chair.

“The patients are understandably angry, they’re frustrated and in chronic pain. We want to get this action moving.”