7 Oct 2013

Reply from PHE


Cllr Chris Cooke said...

Seems to me PHE are claiming they are entitled to make the decision to fluoridate - whilst councils simply do the consultations.

However, the budget for paying for the fluoridation lies entirely within the control of the Councils. It is from money that is to be used for public health functions generally - not ringfenced for fluoride. So - if it's not the Council's agreement,they might simply refuse to pay. It would be a curious thing if councils were forced to pay for things over which they have no control. And I don't think PHE would be able to find a budget to pay for this, even if they had the power to decide.

Somebody might also usefully mention to these councils that insurers such as Zurich (the biggest council insurance firm) simply refuse to insure fluoride schemes. So - do councils really want to risk the financial liability seeing as they are the ones in control of the budget?

Carrie said...

The new legislation is perfectly clear that councils are responsible for consultations and initiating new fluoridation schemes but PHE has wrongly assumed it has inherited the powers from the SHA to order water companies to fluoridate, when in reality PHE is only responsible for running existing schemes, which is not the case in Southampton.

When the SHA left office, there was no agreement signed with Southern Water, no confirmed areas, no way of doing it, no infrastructure and no planning
permission, so there is no scheme for PHE to implement.

It would indeed be absurd for the councils to be forced to pay if they have no control over fluoridation schemes and no insurance against financial liability.

It is interesting that PHE is now focusing on promoting fluoride in school milk - so called 'dental milk', for which parental consent must be given, clearly because it is a medicine. This is surely and admission that fluoridated water is a medicinal product requiring consent.

rcannard said...

Lord Jauncey in the Scottish Court in 1983, ruled that..."Section 130 [of the Medicines Act 1968] defines "medicinal product" and I am satisfied that fluoride in whatever form it is ultimately purchased by the respondents falls within the definition."

Although this action was heard before the Scottish Court of Session, the Medicines Act under which the action was brought is an Act passed by the English Parliament that applies throughout the whole of the UK, including Scotland. Since the definition of a medicine in English law corresponds closely to that in Australian law, Jauncey's view indicates that it would be irrational to refuse to recognise the status of fluoridated water as a therapeutic good under the existing Australian Therapeutic Goods Act.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 rather more tersely defines medicines as being...

Therapeutic goods (other than biologicals) that are represented to achieve, or are likely to achieve, their principal intended action by pharmacological, chemical, immunological or metabolic means in or on the body of a human.

U.K. Medicines Act 1968 Meaning of "medicinal product" and related expressions

(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, in this Act “medicinal product” means any substance or article (not being an instrument, apparatus or appliance) which is manufactured, sold, supplied, imported or exported for use wholly or mainly in either or both of the following ways, that is to say
a)use by being administered to one or more human beings or animals for a medicinal purpose.
(b)use, in circumstances to which this paragraph applies, as an ingredient in the preparation of a substance or article which is to be administered to one or more human beings or animals for a medicinal purpose.
(2) In this Act “a medicinal purpose” means any one or more of the following purposes, that is to say—
(my personal favorite)...(a)treating or preventing disease;
b)diagnosing disease or ascertaining the existence, degree or extent of a physiological condition.

There is much more to this act but i can't post it all so i'll end with this section
(9) In this Act “administer” means administer to a human being or an animal, whether orally, by injection or by introduction into the body in any other way, or by external application, whether by direct contact with the body or not; and any reference in this Act to administering [F11(or feeding)] a substance or article is a reference to administering [F11(or feeding)] it either in its existing state or after it has been dissolved or dispersed in, or diluted or mixed with, some other substance used as a vehicle.= (the water supply)