Blog: Nottinghamshire politician storms out of meeting after saying ‘Brexit has destroyed the NHS’ – Nottinghamshire Live

A councillor stormed out of a meeting after being told he should avoid “getting political”, having claimed Brexit had destroyed the NHS. Lib Dem councillor Steve Carr ‘stomped out’ of a meeting at Nottinghamshire County Council’s County Hall during a discussion over the creation of a new NHS body which is supposed to improve services across the region.

The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was recently replaced by an Integrated Care Board (ICB) in a shakeup aimed at improving efficiencies between GPs, community services, the police, charities and hospitals in Nottinghamshire. It is as such responsible for the budgeting of NHS services in the area.

The new board was being discussed during a health scrutiny committee meeting at County Hall on Tuesday, July 26 when an argument broke out. Questions were aimed at the chief executive of the ICB, Amanda Sullivan, and Prema Nirgude, head of insights and engagement.

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Councillor Steve Carr, who represents Beeston North, asked: “There have always been health service challenges. But I can tell you that within about 100 metres from where I live on my estate there were seven health service staff, qualified nurses and doctors, that upped sticks and went back to the European Union, never to return.

“I know that’s not your fault, it’s their fault [pointing at Conservative councillors], but would you say the Brexit situation has contributed to the resources being taken out?”

Councillor Carr’s question comes at a time of increasing pressures in NHS services, not only in Nottinghamshire, but across the country. NHS England data shows there are more than 8,000 doctor vacancies and around 40,000 nurse vacancies, and concerns have before been raised over how the EU referendum prompted many European NHS staff to return to their home countries amid uncertainty.

In April it was revealed, via a leaked document, GPs were being drafted on to hospital wards in Nottinghamshire to help relieve some of the pressures which were amplified during the coronavirus pandemic. The pressures, largely the result of staffing issues, are not only being reported in hospitals but within ambulance services such as EMAS.

His question, however, provoked unrest among councillors to which Councillor Carr continued: “You don’t like it, do you when we talk about Brexit and its consequences? Its consequences that it has destroyed the NHS.”

Councillor Sue Saddington, the chairwoman of the committee who represents Farndon and Trent on the county council, responded to say: “Councillor Carr, councillor Carr, can I just remind you this is not a political meeting. We are here to do what is best for the residents. This is not a political committee.”

Councillor Carr then stood up and said: “This committee is an absolute waste of time. I’m going home to look after my wife.” He then left the meeting.

Speaking after the meeting councillor Carr told Nottinghamshire Live: “I was trying to get across that our health service, to deliver helpful outcomes, is teetering on the brink of disaster and all the Government is doing is playing with administration.

“I have not got the time for a committee like that. How can you not ask political questions?”

During the tussle Councillor Saddington had claimed, in a dig, that Councillor Carr had missed all health scrutiny meetings before July 26. Asked by Nottinghamshire Live why he had not before attended the meetings he replied: “The first time there was a mix-up with the dates and the last time was because my wife was in hospital. I thought that was poor of the chairwoman to use that against me.”

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