Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh is recovering in hospital after suffering a mild heart attack outside the House of Commons.

The former B.C. premier and ex-federal health minister underwent a successful operation Tuesday to remove a blood clot near his heart and was said to be in good spirits.

He received speedy medical care after complaining of chest pains during a morning meeting of Liberal MPs, as political friends and foes rushed to his side to offer assistance.

Colleague Carolyn Bennett, a doctor, attended to him and encouraged him to seek medical attention immediately.

Dosanjh, 59, was brought to a chair just outside the Commons, where he waited for an ambulance.

Just upstairs, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper heard a commotion. Upon hearing what had happened, Carolyn Stewart Olsen, a former nurse, rushed downstairs to help.

She said she urged Dosanjh to remain seated when he claimed to be feeling better and said he wanted to stand up to walk toward the ambulance.

"It's a common trait for anyone suffering from chest pains -- you deny it,'' Stewart Olsen said.

The ambulance arrived quickly and paramedics conducted a cardiogram which confirmed a heart attack.

Bennett, a Toronto MP, went with Dosanjh to hospital and remained with him for much of the day.

Dosanjh's spokeswoman said he was grateful for all the help and good wishes he received.

"He is resting right now, he's feeling much better, he's taking visitors and joking with them,'' said Lisa Crawford.

"He's doing very well and he's going to be absolutely fine. He very much appreciates the many expressions of concern and good wishes that we received from so many people.''

Dosanjh was elected federally as a Liberal in 2004, switching parties after serving briefly as a NDP premier of British Columbia.