South Central SHA's decision to fluoridate Southampton's tap water is dangerous, undemocratic, potentially illegal and a 'sticking plaster with side effects solution'. Southampton Primary Care Trust has failed to provide adequate NHS dentistry for its residents as a Freedom of Information request revealed that 76% of its NHS dentists are not taking new patients. Other dentistry data released today has shown that less than half of adults are using NHS dentists and the proportion of children accessing NHS dentistry in Southampton has fallen by 2.4% over the past two years.
Trying to fixing NHS dentistry problems by un-ethical and potentially illegal mass medication is simply wrong. Southampton needs to fix its access to dentistry. Only having 24% of its dental practices taking on new patients means that many poorer people are forced to go without dental care. Today's statistics have also shown the proportion of children accessing NHS dental care has fallen by 2.4% over the past two years. Despite this appallingly poor level of provision in Southampton, the local NHS has opted for a sicking plaster with side effects solution.
Fluoridating water is one way of medicating people without their permission, and the European Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine distinctly states that individuals have the right not to be medicated without their consent. Fluoride has well documented and dangerous side effects, it is wrong to expose people to these against their will. This appalling decision also seems to have been taken without any regard for the voice of local people, the majority of whom were opposed to mass medication with fluoride.
1. FOI response to the Green Party dated 3rd Feb 2009 showed that of
Southampton PCT's 25 NHS dental practices only 6 were accepting new
patients in December 2008.