Campaigners turned out in force to the first health authority event to inform residents about plans to fluoridate tap water, but there was a disappointing response from the public.
A total of 25 anti-fluoride protesters gathered outside the drop-in session at Bitterne Parish Hall, Southampton, handing out leaflets to those going to talk to health officials about the controversial scheme.
Hampshire Against Fluoridation chairman John Spottiswoode was outside the hall to push the case against the plans, which have been put forward by Southampton City Primary Care Trust to improve dental health.
“We’re not blockading them, we just want to make the point that we’re unhappy it’s a one-sided process,” he said. “Although the PCT is aggressively pushing this, South Central Strategic Health Authority is pushing it in a soft way by not giving the full picture.”
Health authority organisers said they were pleased people had turned out to the first of nine events, despite only a slow stream of people arriving during the eight-hour session.
“I’m so glad people have turned up,” said deputy director of public health Dr James Mapstone. “We’ve had a mix of responses, but the strongest message I’ve heard has been the concerns about individual choice.
“There has been some criticism about whether this is a real consultation or not, but I’m hoping people will have left thinking it is.”
The second drop-in event runs from midday to 8pm today at All Saints Church Hall, Millbrook, Southampton.