HC Deb 11 December 1967 vol 756 cc1-3
2. Dr. David Kerr

asked the Minister of Health what proposals he has for extending the fluoridation of water supplies where these are deficient in fluorine content.

64. Mr. Cronin

asked the Minister of Health what is his present policy with regard to extending the fluoridation of water supplies.

The Minister of Health (Mr. Kenneth Robinson)

Since the benefits and safety of the fluoridation of water supplies were established beyond doubt, my policy has been to urge local health authorities to arrange for its introduction and to assist them in implementing their proposals. The need for further action is constantly under review.

Dr. Kerr

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Answer which he gave to a Question which I put to him on this subject last week does not reveal a satisfactory result to this policy of guiding local authorities? Would he now give urgent consideration to doing something much more strenuous, knowing that he will have the support, probably of the majority of hon. Members but certainly of hon. Members on this side of the House?

Mr. Robinson

I am aware that in certain areas the wishes of the majority of local health authorities in favour of fluoridation are being frustrated by one or two who are opposed and who receive their water from the same supplier. Clearly this is a situation to which I must give consideration.

Mr. Cronin

Is it not the case that fluoridation is now a routine public health measure in the United States and most advanced countries? Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that many big advances in medical science, including vaccination and antiseptic surgery, have been the object of irrational opposition and that it is his positive duty to ensure that fluoridation takes place in this country on an extensive scale in the interests of our children and future generations?

Mr. Robinson

I certainly agree with what my hon. Friend says about the benefits of fluoridation. It is true that the United States and certain other countries are more advanced than we are in this matter. I hope to have fairly shortly the results of dental studies in the United Kingdom after 10 years of fluoridation. These will, I believe, give further proof of the value of this measure. I hope that their publication will overcome any remaining doubts on the part of local authorities.

Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan

What does the phrase "constantly under review" actually mean in this context?

Mr. Robinson

Precisely what it says.