§ Miss Melanie Johnson
The Government wishes to empower health communities to make well-informed choices about improving oral health including the option of deciding whether to fluoridate their water. We are particularly attracted by the potential fluoridation offers for reducing inequalities in oral health. The Chief Medical Officer and Chief Dental Officer are considering the implications of the recent Medical Research Council report, "Water Fluoridation and Health", for the development of Government policy on fluoridation. It would be for primary care trusts and strategic health authorities (SHAs) to decide whether to consult on fluoridation. New schemes could be introduced only where a majority of the population were in favour.773W
The Government have received representations from the water industry, requesting that the legislation on fluoridation be amended to make SHAs solely responsible for deciding, where their populations are in favour, that a new fluoridation scheme should be introduced. We tabled a relevant amendment to the Water Bill on 2 July 2003, for debate on 9 July before third reading of the Bill in another place.