A furious victim of disgraced former NHS Tayside surgeon Sam Eljamel has slated Humza Yousaf for refusing to meet her even though she lives nearby and sees him at the supermarket.
Dundee businesswoman Leann Sutherland, 34, was left waiting for nearly half a year before she was formally snubbed by the first minister.
She was unable to secure a chat despite Deputy First Minister Shona Robison, a close ally of Mr Yousaf, being her MSP.
“I’m not asking for hours of his time,” Leann said.
“He lives up the road. I just wanted a couple of answers so things were clearer.”
Last year Leann told us that surgeon Eljamel left her in so much pain she begged her own mum to suffocate her.
She claimed she was used as an experimental study by the rogue doctor, and was screaming to the point where it felt like acid was being pushed through her veins.
Leann said the first minister’s refusal to meet her was particularly frustrating given she has seen him shopping at the same local supermarket before.
“Having to just stand there and say nothing, it takes me all my strength to hold myself back, to not say anything,” she said.
Leann first requested a meeting with Mr Yousaf last June, months before he U-turned and ordered a public inquiry into the Eljamel scandal.
At around the same time, another Eljamel victim heckled Mr Yousaf during his speech at an SNP independence convention in Dundee.
Glenrothes grandmother Theresa Mallett, a lifelong SNP supporter, later met the first minister in her own home after confronting him publicly.
Her protest made national headlines, even sparking a response from Harry Potter author JK Rowling.
Leann said: “Are they deliberately trying to wind people up? Is that the reaction they’re looking for? Do they want people to heckle them?”
She added: “I’m not upset that he gave Theresa time, because she deserves that.
“But if that’s what she had to do, and if that’s what I have to do, I’m not willing to put myself through that to get his attention.”
Leann insisted she only wanted to speak to the first minister, but after he said no Ms Robison’s office tried to secure a meeting with health chief Michael Matheson.
The SNP health secretary also declined to meet her, at a time when he remained under pressure to resign due to an expenses scandal on his roaming charges while abroad.
Instead, on December 4 Leann was offered the chance to have a sit down with a senior civil servant, which she refused.
She told us: “The only person that can answer for Humza is Humza. I feel like they’ve just tried to grab anybody and offer me it so they’ll look the part.”
Deputy First Minister Ms Robison’s office acknowledged the rejection from the first minister would be “deeply upsetting” for Leann.
In a follow-up email, a staff member working for the deputy first minister said they were “deeply disappointed” it had taken so long to get an answer.
“She gave me false hope,” Leann added.
Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Liz Smith, who helped push for a public inquiry, said it was a “dereliction of duty”.
Ms Smith added: “It is utterly shameful that it took the first minister the best part of six months to even respond to her request.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The first minister receives a high volume of meeting requests and correspondence – unfortunately not all meetings can be accommodated.
“It is routine for civil servants who work on the specific area involved to attend meetings in cases where they cannot be accommodated in ministers’ diaries.
“We apologise for the delay in responding.”