John Swinney has offered an “unreserved apology” to patients who have had to be treated in hospital corridors.

The First Minister’s expression of regret came after The Herald’s sister paper, the Glasgow Times, told of an 80-year-old man who was left in a storage room at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital for hours.

The pensioner was rushed to hospital after suffering a stroke, but because he tested positive for Covid-19 and couldn't be placed in a mainstream ward, he was left in a room filled with medical supplies and with no water, buzzer, or access to a toilet.

(Image: Images supplied to the Glasgow Times)

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde spokesperson denied that they had left the man in a cupboard, but had placed him “in the resus room which is routinely used to care for patients."

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During First Minister’s Questions, Anas Sarwar raised a recent report from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) which found that overcrowding in Scotland’s emergency departments has led to more than half treating patients in hospital corridors.

“Imagine you or one of your loved ones lying on a trolley for hours. No privacy, no dignity, just pain and distress,” the Scottish Labour leader said.

“After 17 years of this SNP government, why has corridor care become such commonplace?”

Mr Swinney said one of the big challenges facing the NHS in Scotland was delayed discharge.

He said that was exacerbated by staff shortages in the care sector caused Brexit.

He told MSPs: “If anybody is treated in the fashion that he has recounted, and I’ve seen media reports this morning of a particular case at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, then I apologise unreservedly to anybody who has that experience.

“And assure members of the public that the Government is doing all that it possibly can do to address that circumstance.”

Mr Sarwar replied: “Week after week we’ve been hearing apologies from SNP first ministers.

“Then we just get apologies the week after and the week after. Nothing actually changes in terms of people’s lived experience.”

The Scottish Labour leader said, according to RCEM estimates, more than 1,000 avoidable deaths had taken place due to delayed treatment.

Mr Swinney reiterated the challenges facing the NHS.

He attacked Mr Sarwar’s pledge from the Scottish Labour manifesto launch, where he committed to avoid raising taxes if he becomes first minister after the 2026 Holyrood election.

Mr Swinney said: “The consequences of his stance will be to reduce public expenditure in Scotland.

“So, it is quite simply beyond credibility to come here and ask me to invest more money in the NHS, to tackle the issues that Mr Sarwar is concerned about, when he wants to cut public expenditure and any prospective UK Government will also be cutting public expenditure.”

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Meanwhile, Mr Swinney also clashed with Douglas Ross over the SNP’s stance on oil and gas.

The party’s position has come under scrutiny during the general election campaign, with opponents accusing them of flip-flopping.

The Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy includes a presumption against new drilling.

However, Mr Swinney and his ministers have said they are not against new drilling, as long as it is compatible with their climate change obligations.

The First Minister told MSPs: “We’ve got a rational and considered process that we’ve argued for, which is that every individual application should be subject to a climate compatibility assessment because there is a journey that we have to make as a country to reach net zero.

“That is inescapable.

“What is clear from the position taken by the Prime Minister, supported by Douglas Ross and the Conservatives, is that they don’t care about the journey on climate.

“They’re not interested in the crisis that we face in the climate emergency, while this Government will take the responsible approach to managing that transition and the challenges of the climate emergency.”

Mr Ross claimed the Scottish Government and SNP MSPs “don’t care” about jobs in the north east of Scotland supported by the oil and gas sector.

“Whenever a new development is proposed in the North Sea, the SNP oppose it,” he said.

“They oppose every round of new licences granted for the oil and gas sector, in recent years, they have not supported any new fields – not one.

“Whatever John Swinney is claiming today, it’s only a temporary position for the SNP, because their position is actually very clear.

“They don’t and will not stand up for Scotland’s oil and gas industry, they are willing to put tens of thousands of jobs and the north-east economy at risk.”