Threat to fluoridation in the north
 

Dental News
Article detail

See the following article detail about

Threat to fluoridation in the north

0845 527 9810

Article details for

Threat to fluoridation in the north

 

Threat to fluoridation in the north

A legal attempt to overturn a decision to fluoridate Southampton's water supply could disrupt moves to explore a similar process in the north west of England.

The North West Strategic Health Authority (SHA) is due to discuss progress on a feasibility study for adding fluoride to the tap water in Greater Manchester and further afield in September.

The next stage would involve the SHA presenting to the region's primary care trusts a formal set of proposals for how fluoridation would work and asking them whether they wanted the SHA to kick off a consultation.

However, the North West SHA has said it is waiting to see whether a formal application for a judicial review into the way South Central SHA ran its consultation into fluoridation for the Southampton area is successful.

Chief executive Mike Farrar said: ‘Should permission be granted, the process may take several months and it is prudent for NHS North West to wait for the outcome before committing significant resources on this matter.'

The application for a judicial review in Southampton – the outcome of which is expected shortly – has been initiated by city resident Geraldine Milner, who is being represented by solicitors Leigh Day & Co.

Ms Milner is opposed to the proposals, which were approved by health authorities in February, because of uncertainties regarding long-term health risks associated with fluoridation, as well as concerns about possible adverse environmental effects.

The legal challenge argues that the SHA failed to have regard for the government's policy that mass fluoridation of drinking water should only go ahead in any particular area if a majority of the local people are in favour of it.

Chief dental officer Barry Cockcroft has already said there is ‘a lot of interest around the country' in the outcome of the challenge, which if successful would be a serious blow to supporters of fluoridation. Such supporters include the new health secretary, Andy Burnham, who said he wanted health authorities in Greater Manchester to ‘take forward' proposals for fluoridation there.

Burnham calls for debate
Health secretary Andy Burnham has called for a national debate on the merits of fluoridation.

Mr Burnham, a long-standing supporter of the process as a way of reducing tooth decay, said while it could not be ‘imposed' on a community that did not want it, the government had a responsibility to set out the health benefits.

Mr Burnham stressed the benefits fluoridation could bring to areas such as north west England, and said as a backbench MP representing the Greater Manchester constituency of Leigh he had campaigned for a change in the law to make fluoridation easier.

"You can't look at evidence like that and say we can't have a debate about it. I think there's a very powerful case for fluoridation, but it shouldn't be imposed on anybody"

The health secretary, who stepped down as vice-president of the British Fluoridation Society following his promotion in June to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, pointed to the stark contrast in oral health between the West Midlands, which had added fluoride to its water supply for four decades and whose children's teeth were in relatively good condition, and Manchester, where there was a much higher rate of tooth decay.

He said: ‘The West Midlands has been fluoridated for 40 years and if you look at children's dental health there compared with dental health of children elsewhere in the country, Manchester being a good example, there's a significant difference between the number of decayed, filled or extracted teeth per child at age five – the difference is really marked.

‘If you looked in Birmingham at how many children are having their teeth extracted under general anaesthetic and compare that to Manchester, you will see quite a big difference.

‘There is no evidence of adverse health impact to people in the West Midlands, but there is major evidence of health gains, particularly to children.'

Mr Burnham said while he wanted Greater Manchester to bring forward fluoridation because children's dental health in the area was ‘the worst in England', he said the process was ‘not necessarily' appropriate for every area.

He explained: ‘You have got to pay for it so the health bodies have got to decide it's worth doing, given their levels of dental health need, and it's a matter for local decision in the health service.

‘However, if the 10 PCTs of Greater Manchester were to say, in my view rightly, this is something we should be doing, then absolutely I would encourage them to take forward a proposal and have a debate, but also listen to local opinion.'

Mr Burnham acknowledged there was opposition to fluoridation, but said: ‘I am personally persuaded that while there is a small loss of personal liberty for the person that doesn't want that one part per million [of fluoride in the water], there is a major public health gain in terms of the quality of children's dental health. Actually it improves adults' teeth as well, and that's the evidence.'

The Labour MP cautioned: ‘It can't be imposed – it's got to be a matter for local decision making by the health authorities obviously listening to local opinion.'

But stressing the need to start the ball rolling across the UK, he said: ‘I have always felt quite strongly about it. If we know of a health gain that could improve children's lives, on what basis would we not put that question to a local population? Because we're frightened of the debate that might create? Let's have that debate.'

Mr Burnham complained that the debate over fluoridation was often taken in ‘a certain direction' by a minority of ‘very vociferous people'.

He said: ‘Sometimes, the other side of the story does not come out as clearly as it might. I am not aware of a clamour in the West Midlands to remove [fluoride] but I am aware of major evidence of improved child dental health in the West Midlands.

‘You can't look at evidence like that and say we can't have a debate about it. I think
there's a very powerful case for fluoridation, but it shouldn't be imposed on anybody.'


 Posted on : Tue 11th - Aug - 2009

 

Call Dental Support UK

Premium IT Support

  • All Servers & workstations covered..
  • Saturday Cover INCLUDED.
  • Telephone support.
  • Remote support.
  • 4 hour on-site Server response.
  • System monitoring.
  • Network monitoring and security.
  • Anti-Virus & Application updates.
  • Unlimited Remote Server Data backup.
  • Loan equipment on hardware failure.
  • Reduced rates for PC parts supply & installations.

No matter how big
your practice you
pay the same
price!!


ONLY

Click here for more info
Dental News Archives 2018

November - 2018
October - 2018
September - 2018
August - 2018
July - 2018
June - 2018
May - 2018
April - 2018
March - 2018
February - 2018
January - 2018

Dental News Archives 2017

December - 2017
November - 2017
October - 2017
September - 2017
August - 2017
July - 2017
June - 2017
May - 2017
April - 2017
March - 2017
February - 2017
January - 2017

Dental News Archives 2016

December - 2016
November - 2016
October - 2016
September - 2016
August - 2016
July - 2016
June - 2016
May - 2016
April - 2016
March - 2016
February - 2016
January - 2016

Dental News Archives 2015

December - 2015
November - 2015
October - 2015
September - 2015
August - 2015
July - 2015
June - 2015
May - 2015
April - 2015
March - 2015
February - 2015
January - 2015

Dental News Archives 2014

December - 2014
November - 2014
October - 2014
September - 2014
August - 2014
July - 2014
June - 2014
May - 2014
April - 2014
March - 2014
February - 2014
January - 2014

Dental News Archives 2013

December - 2013
November - 2013
October - 2013
September - 2013
August - 2013
July - 2013
June - 2013
May - 2013
April - 2013
March - 2013
February - 2013
January - 2013

Dental News Archives 2012

December - 2012
November - 2012
October - 2012
September - 2012
August - 2012
July - 2012
June - 2012
May - 2012
April - 2012
March - 2012
February - 2012
January - 2012

Dental News Archives 2011

January - 2011
February - 2011
March - 2011
April - 2011
May - 2011
June - 2011
July - 2011
August - 2011
September - 2011
October - 2011
November - 2011
December - 2011

Dental News Archives 2010

December - 2010
November - 2010
October - 2010
September - 2010
August - 2010
July - 2010
June - 2010
May - 2010
April - 2010
March - 2010
February - 2010
January - 2010

Dental News Archives 2009

December - 2009
November - 2009
October - 2009
September - 2009
August - 2009
July - 2009
June - 2009
May - 2009
April - 2009
March - 2009
February - 2009
January - 2009

Dental News Archives 2008

December - 2008
November - 2008
October - 2008
September - 2008
August - 2008
July - 2008
June - 2008
May - 2008
April - 2008
March - 2008
February - 2008
January - 2008

Dental News Archives 2007

December - 2007
November - 2007
October - 2007
September - 2007
August - 2007
July - 2007
June - 2007
May - 2007
April - 2007
March - 2007
February - 2007
January - 2007

Dental News Archives 2006

December - 2006
November - 2006
October - 2006
September - 2006
August - 2006
July - 2006
June - 2006
May - 2006
April - 2006
March - 2006
February - 2006
January - 2006

Dental News Archives 2005

December - 2005
November - 2005
October - 2005
September - 2005
August - 2005
July - 2005
June - 2005
May - 2005

hide toolbar
Would you like weekly updates on our latest offers? If so enter your email :
Quick Remote Dental Support