North West Fluoride Plans Delayed
NHS North West has delayed plans to add fluoride to the area’s water supplies.
NHS North West, which is due to be abolished in the near future, assessed the cost of a fluoridation scheme between 2008 and 2009 and came to the conclusion that the scheme would be too expensive. There were also concerns about the management of the programme in the transition period, as responsibility will pass from the strategic health authority to local councils.
The assessment found that the cost would be around £200 million over a six year period, with an annual operating cost of around £6 million.
Supporters of fluoride schemes believe that the short-term investment will pay dividends in the future, as fluoride helps to reduce tooth decay, thus reducing the cost of dental care. Dental surgeon, Mark Wilkinson, from the Glen Lyon Dental Practice in Accrington described the decision as a “blow” and said that rates of decay were among the highest in the UK. Fluoride, he said, would benefit people without harming their health, as the amount of fluoride in drinking water would be very small.
Fluoridation is a controversial issue and anti-fluoride campaigners are pleased with the decision; many people believe that fluoride is harmful for health and there is also the issue of personal choice, as some people think they should have the choice of whether or not they consume fluoridated water.
Brian Jackson, from East Lancashire Friends of the Earth, is one of the campaigners praising the health authority’s decision and has been campaigning against fluoridation of 25 years and said that people can benefit from fluoride without it being added to community water supplies.
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