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Still treading water over fluoridation
2:24pm Friday 1st November 2013 in News
NEW Forest East MP, Julian Lewis, has demanded answers on the future of fluoridation in Hampshire.
Leaders of Southampton City Council and Hampshire County Council wrote to the Government earlier this year, asking for clarification on whether the scheme still existed.
But the organisation which would be charged with adding the chemical to drinking water has still not reached a decision.
Now Dr Lewis has urged Public Health England (PHE) to hurry up with its deliberations and let the 200,000 affected people, including those in Rownhams, know whether it intends to introduce it or not.
The fluoridation saga began in 2009, when the South Central Strategic Health Authority (SHA) revealed its scheme to put fluoride into water in parts of Southampton, Eastleigh, Totton, Netley and Rownhams.
The plans proved hugely controversial, but were given the green light.
However, council chiefs claim paperwork was not completed during the handover between the SHA, which was scrapped earlier this year, and PHE, which took on responsibility for fluoridation, earlier this year and that therefore the scheme cannot go ahead.
Since then, PHE spokesmen have repeatedly said it was reviewing its position on the future of the scheme, but Dr Lewis is now upping the pressure on them to produce a definitive statement.
Dr Lewis wrote to PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie requesting a statement that would “put an end to the confusion and speculation surrounding this whole sorry saga.”
In reply, Mr Selbie said the organisation was still taking advice on its position and that no response was immediately forthcoming.
Dr Lewis said: “It is obvious from the contortions of its chief executive that PHE is still trying to poke its nose into an area where its interference is not welcome.
“The proponents of fluoridation failed to get the contract signed in time but continue arrogantly to try to impose it.”
A PHE spokesman said: “Public Health England continues to give full and careful consideration to all the relevant factors relating to water fluoridation in Southampton and south west Hampshire.”
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