HEART patients were treated in a "mobile theatre" outside a flagship hospital created to drive down waiting times, it has emerged.

The Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Clydebank set up a temporary cardiac cath lab, where patients at risk of a heart attack are treated for blocked arteries, our sister title the Evening Times reports.

Patients are said to have been led out of the hospital "under a covered walkway" for procedures including coronary angiograms, where doctors examine arteries and angioplasty, where stents are inserted to widen arteries.

One member of staff who says she worked in the "angiogram theatre" which was used earlier this year, said there had been some concern about the logistics of the unit but all infection control and safety issues were rigorously adhered to and constantly reassessed. She said the unit had “worked really well".

The Golden Jubilee hospital’s health board said mobile units has been used elsewhere in the UK and it is understood only "lower risk" patients were treated.

However, politicians and union leaders said it was indicative of an NHS creaking under the pressure and becoming increasingly reliant on “sticking plaster” solutions.

It comes after it emerged a temporary operating theatre is being set up in a hospital car park while upgrade works are carried out.

The facility at University Hospital Hairmyres, in East Kilbride, will be up and running from January, while “long standing” plans to improve an operating theatre inside are completed.

A mobile A&E unit is also being installed outside the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to help drive down long waits.

Matt McLaughlin, of Unison Scotland, said: “There is a major question about investment, long term planning and resources, when on one hand were told that there is record investment and on the other the answer to capacity issues is the use of the private sector and temporary buildings.

“It’s time that politicians stopped using our NHS as a political football and time they got on top of the day to day issues that are causing problems time and again.”

Monica Lennon, Labour’s health spokeswoman, added: “It’s a worrying sign that the NHS in Scotland is increasingly reliant on temporary buildings to care for patients.

“SNP ministers have broken their own promise on treatment times over 250,000 times and under-resourced hospitals are struggling to cope.

“The NHS in Scotland is in chaos and patients and staff have had enough of sticking-plaster solutions.”

A spokeswoman for the Golden Jubilee Foundation said: “NHS Golden Jubilee had a mobile cardiac catheterisation laboratory (Cath Lab) on site earlier this year for three months.

"The introduction of the unit was due to the high demand in interventional cardiology as a direct result of an increase in referrals for electrophysiology and an increase in urgent demand in coronary intervention.

"Our clinical teams have been working extremely hard to deliver against increasing referrals and emergency activity. In addition to the mobile unit, we have introduced weekend working, and extended working to treat more patients than ever before.

"We are currently building an additional Cath Lab which is due to open in spring 2020."

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman issued a “robust defence” of the temporary unit installed at Hairmyres Hospital saying it was an example of a health board doing the "right thing and continuing to deliver safe, quality services by experienced and caring staff".