NICOLA Sturgeon has been urged to sack her health secretary after it emerged 18,000 people most at risk from coronavirus were wrongly told it was safe to leave their homes. 

The Scottish Tories said the growing list of blunders under Jeane Freeman meant “enough was enough” and she should be replaced.

It followed a report in the Daily Record that around one in 10 of the 180,000 people in the ultra-vulnerable “shielding group” were sent letters saying their lockdown would end on June 8.

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Sent in April, the letters from NHS National Services Scotland should have said June 18.

Health Protection Scotland wrote to the 17,967 people affected last week and apologised.

Shielders, who include transplant recipients and those with compromised immune systems, were told to stay indoors completely in March, and the Scottish Government is due to issue revised guidance to them by June 16.

Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: “It’s deeply disappointing and worrying to now learn that one in 10 of the Scots most at risk from Covid-19 have been sent misleading information. 

“Telling them they can stop shielding 10 days ahead of the date the Scottish Government believes to be safe is confusing and potentially dangerous.

“The health secretary must apologise for this blunder and ensure that the 180,000 vulnerable people in the shielding group get the right information and support.”

The Scottish Tories claimed to have identified 10 occasions where Ms Freeman was ”lucky to keep her job as the health service north of the border continues to flounder”.

These include delays in testing frontline hospital and care home staff, and the lack of transparency around the first big Covid outbreak in Scotland in late February.

The party also cited pre-Covid problems with treatment times and hospital buildings.

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.”

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A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Responding to the coronavirus pandemic is the biggest challenge of our lifetimes and we must do all we can to slow it down and save lives.

"Guidance and local support has been introduced to help shield around 180,000 people who are at the highest risk of developing severe illness as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“In April a number of letters were sent by NHS National Services Scotland on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer advising people that they needed to shield until June 8 rather than June 18. This was due to interpretation of when the 12 weeks of shielding started.

“On June 3, Public Health Scotland issued a letter to the 17,967 people affected, explaining that shielding runs until June 18."