9 Jun 2009

Daily Echo - In my View

Public must have full confidence in plans for fluoridation
READERS of the Daily Echo will be well aware of the controversy over the decision by the Strategic Health Authority (SHA) to add fluoride to Southampton's Water supply in order to improve dental health in children.
I have, of course, long supported the fluoridation of water.
Without rehearsing all the arguments I have been satisfied that the health gains outweigh any potential risks.
I have also carefully considered the principle involved in adding something to water to promote health rather than simply to protect health as with purification. Again, on balance, I have been persuaded that this is worth doing.
However, I also believe that such a decision does need to command public confidence.
The SHA took its original decision knowing that fluoridation had not been popularly supported in either the consultation or opinion polls. It is always hard in these circumstances to judge the real strength of public opinion.
It was possible, perhaps, that once taken there would have been a general acceptance of fluoridation.
In my judgement, this has not yet happened. There is a real danger of proceeding with fluoridation against the wishes of too many people. I think it would be better if the SHA were to place the implementation of its decision on hold.
It needs to have a fresh look at the situation and see how it might be possible to win greater public support. The SHA should be prepared to say that, even if the health benefits are clear, it cannot ignore issues of public opinion or confidence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find it remarkable that seemingly intelligent people don't understand that it is simply none of their business to be even discussing, let along lending their support to, mass medication. None of this has anything to do with selling the idea of fluoridation to more people. It is wrong to fluoridate if only one person doesn't want to be medicated - it's against human rights.