Fluoride Action Network

Southampton: Fluoridation leaflet gives people a say

Source: Daily Echo | November 24th, 2008 | By Jon Reeve
Location: United Kingdom, England

EVERY home which would receive fluoridated water under a controversial scheme being considered by health chiefs is to be offered the chance to have its say.

Letters and leaflets are being delivered to 110,000 households in a bid to get more feedback from those affected by the plans.

With less than a month left of the 14-week public consultation on proposals to add extra fluoride to the tap water drunk by nearly 200,000 Hampshire residents, organisers are desperate to hear more people’s views.

Just 3,500 responses have been sent to South Central Strategic Health Authority so far.

The body, which oversees the region’s healthcare and is charged with independently overseeing the consultation, is now sending feedback forms to every affected home in Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton and Netley.

The pamphlets have freepost forms attached and are being distributed to 110,000 homes through leaflet drops and as inserts in the Daily Echo’s free sister paper, the Southampton News Extra.

Fluoridation has split opinion across Hampshire.

The plans have been proposed by Southampton City Primary Care Trust as a solution to a poor record on children’s dental health.

But those against it argue there are dangerous side effects and it is an unethical form of mass medication.

After carrying out their own reviews of the scheme, Southampton City Council has backed it, but Hampshire County Council has registered its opposition.

Test Valley Borough Council has said it would not welcome a similar scheme in its area, while New Forest District and Eastleigh Borough councils are yet to vote on the issue.

The Daily Echo held an unscientific snap poll before the start of the consultation, in which two thirds of the 25,000 votes cast were against.

The final decision will be made by the SHA board in February, following independent analysis of the responses.

Feedback will be evaluated for the validity of the arguments put forward and the science they are based on, rather than a simple vote.

Kevin McNamara, from the SHA’s consultation team, said there is still time for people to have their say.

“We are making every effort to collect as many views as possible from people who live or work in the area and we want to hear from everyone,” he said.

“It is crucial that everyone has their questions answered and their opinions recorded. Their views will help the SHA board to make a final decision next year.”

As well as posting back responses, residents can complete the feedback form online. Visit dailyecho.co.uk for details. To request a consultation document call 0800 023 4680.