HEALTH bosses in Southampton have denied they have left any area out of the public consultation on fluoridation, after the Daily Echo revealed what appeared to be more confusion surrounding the controversial scheme.
This paper reported some residents’ complaints they had not been properly included in the public consultation on the plans, and left in the dark about when their homes would be receiving fluoride, and how much would be coming through the taps.
But South Central Strategic Health Authority says the 7,500 people in the area where the water supplies will have fluoride added at times of high demand were fully included in the exercise to gain public opinion on the proposals.
Leaflets were sent to residents in the Bassett area of Southampton and they were invited to roadshow events during the 14-week exercise, although none was held in the area itself.
The SHA last night stressed it had treated Bassett as a full part of the consultation, and feedback from residents were taken on board when it made its decision on the plans.
More than 10,000 people had their say – including residents, campaigners on both sides and health professionals across Britain – on the plans to fluoridate the homes of nearly 200,000 Hampshire people. Of those respondents who live in the affected area, 72 per cent said they were against the proposals.
The SHA also commissioned a phone survey of 2,000 residents.
That found 38 per cent of respondents were opposed to fluoridation, 32 per cent were in favour, 19 per cent were neither for or against and ten per cent said they didn’t know.
The SHA last night said it listened to all feedback before agreeing to back fluoridation, when its board voted unanimously in favour of the scheme in February. “An intensive public awareness campaign ensured that all 195,000 residents that will be affected by the increase in fluoride levels were made aware of the three month long public consultation and had numerous opportunities to respond,” it said in a statement.
“Included among these residents are people living in the Bassett area that have been kept informed and have had the same opportunities to respond to the public consultation.
“This awareness campaign included newspaper advertising in the Daily Echo, ongoing TV and radio coverage and a mail delivery to over 110,000 homes in the local area, including Bassett.
“A map that clearly shows the areas that will receive increased levels o fluoridef in their water supply is contained in the consultation document and also on the SHA website.
“The SHA is absolutely committed to keeping people informed on the progress of the fluoridation scheme.”
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