THE decision to axe strategic health authorities was yesterday welcomed by opponents of fluoridation, who said it would help kill off controversial plans to add the chemical to Southampton’s water supply.
Julian Lewis, Tory MP for New Forest East, described the South Central SHA as the “unaccountable driving force” behind the proposal, which is currently subject to a judicial review, adding that he would be “very surprised” if any successor organisation tried to “resurrect” it.
In the Commons, Dr Lewis asked Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to consider prioritising South Central for the axe, in an attempt to bring a speedy end to fluoridation. Mr Lansley, who plans to get rid of PCTS and SHAs by 2013, said he would take into account the MP’s representations. Dr Lewis told the Daily Echo afterwards he would be tabling Parliamentary questions to find out who would take over responsibility for fluoridation in the event of the abolition of the SHA, and what account such a body would be required to take of public opposition to the plans.
He said: “There’s no way they could get fluoride into the water before [the SHA] disappeared. The SHA has been the unaccountable driving force behind this proposal to impose fluoridation on Southampton and Totton and now they are coming to the end of the road.
“I would be very surprised and disappointed if any subsequent body was so arrogant as to seek to resurrect and impose compulsory fluoridation on a city that clearly does not want it.’’