DOUGLAS Ross has demanded Angus Robertson retract comments he made during a furious clash at FMQs over NHS waiting times.

The Scottish Tory leader dedicated his questioning to waiting times at A&E departments, but took issue with comments made from the floor of the chamber by the Constitution Secretary.

Robertson’s comments could not be heard on the livestream of the exchange, but Ross later claimed the “smirking” Cabinet Secretary had dismissed comments he was reading out regarding an NHS whistleblower.

However, parliamentary audio picked up the word "manchild" from Robertson, which was then repeated by Scottish Tory depute leader Meghan Gallacher.

Ross’s questioning was interrupted by protesters, with the session disrupted a whopping nine times by the end.

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The Scottish Tory leader told the chamber that a whistleblower in NHS Grampian, reported in the P&J newspaper, said there had been 18 ambulances stuck outside Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

“The whistleblower said this could have been up to half of the north east fleet of ambulances stuck in one place unable to leave instead of supporting and protecting the communities they serve,” Ross said.

He then attempted to chastise First Minister Humza Yousaf for not listening to his contrbutuon before hitting out at Robertson.

A visibly furious Ross stopped his questioning and said: “What? Is that the response we’re going to get from a Cabinet Secretary in the Scottish Government? And I hope that is withdrawn, I hope that is withdrawn…”

Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone interrupted and said she did not hear the comment Ross had picked up on.

She added: “But it is absolutely essential that members desist from any commentary when their colleagues are putting questions to one another and responding to them.

“We are not going to continue in this vein. I would be grateful if members could remind themselves of standing orders and the need to treat one another with courtesy and respect.”

Ross continued: “I can’t believe Angus Robertson is smirking after saying that when I am quoting from an ambulance worker in NHS Grampian.

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“So I will continue to read out their words because they seem to be uncomfortable for this SNP Government.”

Ross added that the NHS whistleblower said many colleagues in the ambulance service “share a concern that we are unable to help those most in need because we’re tied up at hospital”.

“Will the First Minister take this more seriously than others on his front bench?” Ross asked.

“What action is being taken to stop ambulances being stuck outside of Scotland’s hospitals, because people will lose their lives if they do not.”

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The First Minister responded: “Of course we take this issue seriously. I’m not sure why Douglas Ross is so rattled this session of First Minister's Questions.”

He continued: “In terms of the health challenges that those across the country are facing, and no doubt the Scottish Ambulance Service is also facing those challenges, which is why we’ve increased funding for the Scottish Ambulance Service this year.

“This financial year £50 million in funding helped them recruit an additional 317 staff by April this year, so we are recruiting more staff where we possibly can.”

Earlier, in response to the case of Kirsteen Campbell who was left waiting over seven hours in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital without access to a bed or pain relief, the First Minister apologised.

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He added: “Are the long waits that too many patients have to endure acceptable, not at all.

“And that’s why we are investing in our NHS, that’s why we’re investing in our staff. What makes that far more difficult of course is when we have those real term budget cuts that come from Westminster, that slash public spending, not just in NHS England but then have a consequence here in Scotland.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar also pushed the First Minister on waiting times and the legal requirement for patients to be treated within 12 weeks. He claimed SNP ministers had broken this law and requirement 680,000 times and asked the FM to apologise.

“I already said in response to Douglas Ross of course this Govermment apologises and regrets anybody having to wait longer,” Yousaf said.