BELEAGUERED Health Secretary Shona Robison is coming under intense pressure to resign after a bruising day that saw Scotland’s public spending watchdog say that repeated warnings over NHS Tayside were not “taken seriously”.

Ms Robison, who is also MSP for Dundee City East, came under fire over the use of charity cash to prop up NHS spending in her local area.

The health board had already faced criticism in March when it emerged that it had “misrepresented” its accounts for six years. 

HERALD VIEW: Time is running out for beleaguered health secretary

At First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard asked why the “repeated warnings” about problems at NHS Tayside had not been acted upon.

Ms Sturgeon said the use of charity money was not raised with ministers as a concern, and that if it had been, action would have been taken.

Mr Leonard said NHS Tayside had been bailed out year after year, faced making £200 million of cuts within five years, and the Government was “in denial about the scale of the problem”.

He said: “None of the steps that have been taken have worked. A health board is raiding charity funds to pay the bills – and that is after fiddling the accounts.

“What makes it even worse is that that is all happening in Tayside, under the nose of the Health Secretary.”

Ms Sturgeon said she would continue to give Ms Robison her support.

READ MORE: New Tayside boss John Brown says £2.7m charity cash spent on IT and other projects will be repaid

Hours earlier Caroline Gardner, Scotland’s Auditor General, told MSPs that internal auditors had flagged the health board’s “unusual” use of £2.7m in charity cash to retrospectively pay for projects, including IT systems, that the NHS had previously agreed to fund from the core budget.

The Herald revealed that trustees of NHS Tayside’s endowment fund had agreed to release the funds in 2014 after the health board ran out of money. The board had to temporarily suspend its constitution to allow the transfer to proceed as it breached its own rules.

Giving evidence to Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee, Ms Gardner said auditors had flagged that “as being something which was an unusual transaction which played into the growing picture of financial pressures at NHS Tayside”.

She said: “Internal auditors raised concerns about the retrospective transactions back in 2014 and it is included in the external auditors report as well.

“There is a significant question about why, throughout the NHS system, warnings from auditors are not being taken seriously. The reason why is something you would need to ask of Scottish Government and of the board itself.”

HERALD VIEW: Time is running out for beleaguered health secretary

Meanwhile, two backbench SNP MSPs also complained to Ms Sturgeon about local health service changes. Jenny Gilruth revealed Glenrothes had been left without a GP on duty overnight for the first time in 70 years, and Sandra White complained about a Glasgow minor injury clinic closing.