27 Aug 2010

Lymington Times - Doomed health body defends fluoride bid

Doomed health body defends fluoride bid
AN NHS body has defended its decision to continue to fight for fluoride to be added to the water supply of Totton residents despite plans for the authority to be axed in 2012.
The South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) gave its approval for the chemical to be added to Southampton's water after the city's Primary Care Trust said it was needed to combat child tooth decay.
The plan affects 190,000 people around Southampton, including 8,000 Totton residents because of the layout of the pipes.
But its powers to add fluoride are due to be axed after the government announced plans to give GPs more responsibility for spending, resulting in the abolition of primary care trusts and strategic health authorities.
Now campaign group Hampshire Against Fluoridation is calling for the SHA to abandon its expensive defence of a High Court legal challenge over the way the project was approved. Chairman Stephen Peckham told the 'A&T' it was "crazy" that the SHA was continuing with the scheme.
But a spokesperson for the authority defended the decision and said: "The Strategic Health Authority still has the responsibility to promote good public health in the region and therefore our position on fluoridation remains unchanged."
Mr Peckham added that the Department of Health (D.o.H) had written a letter to campaigners stating it would examine whether the law needed to be changed to ensure people have more of a say on any similar proposals.
The letter said: "This will ensure that there is a democratic basis for decisions on fluoridation. In drawing up the legislation that will be required for the new arrangements, the D.o.H will be giving further consideration as to how more account can be taken locally of the views of the people who would be affected by any proposals for a new fluoridation scheme."
Opponents claim their concerns about the chemical's side-effects have been ignored, despite gathering a 15,000 name petition objecting and a Mori Poll by the SHA showing 38% opposed against 32% in support.

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