The Chair of Lakes District Health Board Deryck Shaw says last night’s vote against a fluoridation referendum is extremely disappointing.
Deryck Shaw, Deputy Board Chair Lyall Thurston, Acting Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood and a host of clinical leaders from the DHB, Toi Te Ora Public Health and the Ministry of Health attended the monthly meeting of the Rotorua District Council.
Deryck Shaw is disappointed that the two Lakes District Health Board members who sit on the Rotorua District Council chose to vote against a referendum. He says as Board members they should be well aware of the body of evidence relating to this major public health initiative.
The DHB had earlier in the week decided that it would contribute to half, or up to $50,000 of the cost of a binding public referendum on fluoridation of public water supplies for the Rotorua district. He says the Board viewed the contribution as worthwhile expenditure and an investment in our population’s oral health.
Deryck Shaw says the RDC vote against a referendum will now deny members of the public the opportunity to decide on the issue of fluoridation.
“The DHB really wanted to see members of the public have the right to decide on the issue. There is overwhelming consensus from the range of organisations that represent doctors, public health specialists and dentists that water fluoridation is safe and effective in helping protect teeth from decay.”
Deryck Shaw says the senior clinicians who attended the meeting are very frustrated that the RDC vote means the Rotorua community will now not have an education programme around fluoride, based on scientific facts and proven information that would have allowed them to be informed and express a view on their and their children’s health.
He says the public health benefits of fluoridating water supplies would have helped avoid many individual issues of oral health and tooth decay and could have provided an opportunity to reduce public dental costs for the Rotorua district into the future.