Councillor storms out of meeting in Brexit row after claiming new Nottinghamshire NHS system ‘could’ve been written on back of fag packet’

A councillor stormed out of a health committee meeting after claiming a new NHS system ‘could’ve been written on the back of a fag packet’.

Coun Steve Carr made the comment at a meeting of Nottinghamshire Council’s health scrutiny committee.

He later left the meeting when told he could not ask a question about how Brexit may have impacted NHS resources.

As he walked out of the meeting after about 30 minutes, he told the chairman, Coun Sue Saddington, he thought the committee was a ‘waste of time’.

County Hall, Nottinghamshire Council's headquarters in West Bridgford.

Amanda Sullivan, chief executive of the newly established Integrated Care Board, was speaking to councillors about the new body.

The ICB has taken over from clinical commissioning groups with a new ‘integrated’ approach to improving the health of people across the county.

The body will see NHS hospitals, GPs and community services come together to join up services and improve people’s health as well as treat illnesses.

However, Coun Carr, a Liberal Democrat, was critical of the Government-backed changes, saying that “if ever there was a time that the NHS didn’t need restructuring, this was it”.

He said: “I have first-hand experience recently of the health service and it is not good.

“It isn’t the fault of the staff, it’s the fact there aren’t enough staff.

“For the government to come out with something that, quite frankly, could’ve been written on the back of a fag packet is, in my opinion, an insult to all of those who have to use the health service.”

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Ms Sullivan said: “We are working hard to use the opportunities of working more jointly and trying to minimise disruption.

“There are significant workforce challenges we have and we will do what we can to encourage people to come and work in the area.”

Coun Carr then said: “Would you say the Brexit situation has contributed to resources being taken away?”

However, Coun Saddington, a Conservative, interrupted and said: “This is not a political meeting.”

Coun Carr said: “You don’t like it when we talk about Brexit and its consequence is it has destroyed the NHS and you are responsible.

“This committee is a waste of time. if you’re not prepared to talk about the big things, I’m not prepared to stay.”

Coun Carr then walked out of the meeting, which continued in his absence.

The ICB will be responsible for the local NHS budget and the delivery of local health and care services. It will also be tasked with producing a five-year delivery plan.

Coun Saddington said the system sounded ‘highly complicated’, adding: Big isn’t always beautiful. How can we be sure that this is going to produce a better health service?”

Ms Sullivan agreed the system was complicated.

She said: “Throughout my time in the NHS there have been different moves to larger and smaller. What we are trying to do this time is to get the benefits of large and small.”