AN MSP said NHS Tayside must explain why they handed "such a huge severance payment" to disgraced former chief executive Lesley McLay, amid reports she received a package worth £90,000.

Read more: NHS Tayside reject claim disgraced boss paid £300,000 severance package

Labour MSP Jenny Marra sparked a row earlier this week when she claimed she had been told that Ms McLay was paid a "golden goodbye" worth more than £300,000 when she stepped down from the organisation on July 31.

The health board hit back, branding Ms Marra's claims "categorically untrue".

HeraldScotland: MSP Jenny Marra

Although it did not dispute that Ms McLay had received a severance package upon her departure, NHS Tayside chiefs insisted that she had been awarded only what she was contractually entitled to and nothing more.

Now, amid fresh reports that Ms McLay walked away with £90,000, including pension contributions, Ms Marra said the sum was "inappropriate".

Read more: Former Tayside boss Lesley McLay signed off sick day after being stripped of chief executive title

NHS Tayside has declined to comment on the £90,000 claim.

Ms Marra, who chairs the Scottish Parliament's Public Audit committee, said: “I am sure most people will agree that such a huge severance payment is inappropriate in this case.

SNP politicians should explain to their constituents why they think it is acceptable for a health board that has been chronically underfunded by their own government to reward failure."

Ms Marra's comments come after John Brown, chairman of NHS Tayside, wrote to her on Tuesday in her capacity as convener of the Public Audit committee with details of Ms McLay's pay-off.

Ms Marra added: “If NHS Tayside had been honest about the extent of this pay off in the first place, the board could have gone some way to starting to rebuild trust with patients and staff.

"Instead, it has now been forced to release this information that should have been made public in the first place.

“I look forward to seeing Audit Scotland’s opinion on this payment when they publish their latest emergency report in September on the financial mess at NHS Tayside.”

Read more: NHS Tayside axed own rules to use charity cash for general spending

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.

Read more: Health Secretary Shona Robison blasts financial culture at NHS Tayside as 'in a league of its own'

Earlier, SNP MSP Sandra White demanded Ms Marra retract her “smears” against NHS Tayside in relation to the £300,000 pay-off claim.

Ms White, who sits on Holyrood’s Health committee, said: “We are used to this sort of thing from Labour, as they continually seek to mislead when it comes to the NHS in Scotland.

"But Ms Marra’s claims aren’t just wrong and misleading, they are wildly off the mark – and it appears to be a deliberate attempt to undermine our health service.

"People have legal entitlements and the NHS simply cannot refuse to make those payments, but as Tayside has said throughout there has been no 'pay-off' or golden goodbye as Ms Marra claimed.

"Jenny Mara must now apologise and publicly retract her baseless claims – as well as setting out on what basis she made them."

A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside said: "NHS Tayside Chairman John Brown has 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."