24 Jan 2012

SOUTHAMPTON: Party leaders vow to stand firm

SOUTHAMPTON: Party leaders vow to stand firm
Fluoride 'bribe won't sway us
By Jon Reeve
SOUTHAMPTON'S political leaders have vowed not to be "bribed" into supporting fluoridation.
The leaders of all three main parties on the city council last night said that they would not back adding the controversial chemical to the tap water of 200,000 homes in a bid to gain extra cash from the Government.
Their pledges came after Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that councils would be in line for bonuses if they improve measures such as dental health once they are handed powers taken from soon-to-be-axed health authorities.
Fears have been raised that the "health premium" incentive could make it more likely that councils will adopt practices such as fluoridation.
Stephen Peckham, chairman of campaign group Hampshire Against Fluoridation, said he believed that the move to hand local authorities public health responsibilities for the first time since the 1970s was a positive step.
However he added: "I am concerned that there will be a pressure on councils to use the money for fluoridation, but what I hope is that local authorities will be much more focused on dealing with the problem of tooth decay through developing community-based approaches which have been proven to work in other areas. "I would hope that councils would use the opportunity to do something that is effective, and although we should never underestimate those pushing for fluoridation, I think it is about time that the role is taken away from the dentists."
Southampton's council group leaders all said that they would not be looking to introduce fluoridation if it is not already in place by the time South Central Strategic Health Authority is disbanded in spring 2013......................

Shortened version due to copyright.

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