Members of a mental health charity were ordered out of a council chambers on Monday as talks on the future of lifeline services descended into chaos.
A public meeting was due to be held in Perth to discuss a damning study of mental health care across Tayside.
Confusion reigned when the talks were cancelled without a clear reason last week.
However Dr David Strang, who led the independent inquiry, was still invited to give a presentation, in private, to members of the Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board.
Pressure group Plus Perth and other members of the public turned up at the council headquarters at 10am for the scheduled meeting, which was listed on the council website last week.
They said they were angered by the last-minute change and argued the service review needed to be kept public.
After several minutes of behind-closed-discussions between IJB members, board chairman Dr Robert Peat, told the public the meeting was private and they would have to “leave the room”.
“This morning we had hoped to have a meeting of the IJB, that was our intention from the last meeting, held in June,” he said. “However, there is no formal meeting being called and this is not an open public session.”
Conservative councillor Callum Purves said the move was not acceptable.
“Nothing in the standing orders gives the chair the right to cancel a meeting,” he said.
Dr Peat repeatedly insisted the meeting had not been called then told members of the public it had been “cancelled”.
He then talked over Susan Scott, of Plus Perth, as she tried to explain her group was there to hear Dr Strang’s presentation.
When her group did not budge, Dr Peat and other senior health officials got up and walked out, to cries of “shameful” and “not fit for purpose”.
The four councillors on the board – Mr Purves and fellow Conservative Colin Stewart, the SNP’s Eric Drysdale and independent Xander McDade – also refused to leave the chamber.
Dr Strang then agreed to give his presentation to members of the public in another part of the building.
Members of the media were funnelled into another room, where council chief executive Jim Valentine explained the reason for cancelling the meeting was because of the “fluidity” of the situation around Dr Strang’s report.
He declined to elaborate, but said there were other factors connected with the study which could not yet to be made public.
Mr Stewart later addressed the second meeting and claimed the reason the meeting was shelved was because the board’s formal response to Dr Strang’s report was not ready.
Susan Scott said: “We weren’t here to cause problems, we just wanted to hear what was going to be said.”
In a statement on Monday evening, Gordon Paterson, Chief Officer for Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “The meeting was delayed because all the required information is not currently available. It is vital that any information being made public is complete and correct.”
He added: “To make use of the time already booked in the diaries of the members of the board, the purpose of the meeting was changed to be an informal private briefing to the board which was to include information not ready to be made public.
“We apologise for any inconvenience to members of the public who attended this morning anticipating a public meeting. The public meeting to consider the report on the review of mental health services will be rearranged at the earliest opportunity.”