THE chairman of NHS Tayside has written to Labour MSP Jenny Marra after she sparked a row by claiming the health board's former chief executive was handed a "golden goodbye" worth over £300,000.

Ms Marra, who is convener of the Scottish Parliament's Public Audit Committee, said on Monday that she understood Lesley McLay had received the six-figure payment on stepping down from NHS Tayside on July 31.

Ms Marra described the alleged pay-off as a "slap in the face" to the staff and residents of NHS Tayside in the wake of a string of scandals over financial mismanagement.

However, the health board hit back and rejected the £300,000 figure as "categorically untrue".

NHS Tayside did not deny that Ms McLay had received a severance package, but insisted the amount she had been paid was "what she was contractually entitled to and nothing more".

In a statement tonight [Tue], the health board confirmed that its chairman, John Brown, has now written to Ms Marra with details of the payments made to Ms McLay.

It stated: "NHS Tayside Chairman John Brown has today written to Jenny Marra in her capacity as Convener of the Public Audit and Post-legislative Scrutiny Committee to provide details of the payments issued to former Chief Executive Ms Lesley McLay on the termination of her employment at the Board.

"As stated on Monday, 6 August, the payments are legal and contractual entitlements and no additional payments have or will be made by NHS Tayside."

Ms McLay was signed off sick in April, the day after being stripped of her chief executive title in the wake of revelations in the Herald that the health board had used £3.6 million of charity cash for routine spending.

The transaction took place in early 2014, shortly after Ms McLay had taken over as chief executive.

NHS Tayside had also come under fire in March this year when it emerged that its accounts had been misrepresented intentionally over several years, beginning in 2012, to mask its true financial position.

The troubled health board has also received more brokerage - interest-free loans from the Scottish Government - than any other health board in Scotland to help it balance its books. Between 2012 and the current financial year it has received more than £50 million.