Fluoridation

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st November 1976.

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Photo of Mr Ian Grist Mr Ian Grist , Cardiff North 12:00 am, 1st November 1976

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals he has received from area health authorities for the fluoridation of water supplies; and if he will give an estimate of the cost of each scheme.

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office)

None. Our approval is not required. But I understand that Mid, West and South Glamorgan Area Health Authorities have all decided to introduce new schemes when finances permit. Estimated costs are available only for West and South Glamorgan at about £50,000 and £100,000 respectively.

Photo of Mr Ian Grist Mr Ian Grist , Cardiff North

Is not the Minister aware that the expenditure of such moneys at a time when there is a cut-back in essential services would be viewed with amazement by members of the public and, indeed, by those elected councils in the South Glamorgan area which opposed the introduction of fluoridation, which is an extremely debatable form of compulsory medication?

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office)

The Cardiff Community Health Council, the St. Fagan's Community Health Council and all the professional opinion in the area support the area health authority. Fluoridation is by far the cheapest and most effective means of safeguarding dental health. It is our policy to encourage it. Dental health in Wales is not in a good state.

Photo of Mr Anthony Nelson Mr Anthony Nelson , Chichester

Because one-third of the people over the age of 16 have no teeth and because dental decay sets in before 16, will the Minister give priority to fluoridation? Will he, in particular, encourage other Government services to provide, for instance, voluntary application of fluoride through mouthwashes, fluoride at school and topical application under the National Health Service?

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office)

Capital costs such as installations at waterworks should be borne by the central Government and not by individual area health authorities.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

Whatever the merits of fluoridation, is it not wrong that it should be carried out by an area health authority which is a nominated body and not by elected bodies, the county councils, as was the case before reorganisation of the National Health Service?

Photo of Mr Barry Jones Mr Barry Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Welsh Office)

My hon. Friend has adopted a statesmanlike attitude in this matter in his constituency. I expect area health authorities thoroughly to consult local opinion, but their decision is their own in the light of their duty to safeguard health.

Photo of Sir Raymond Gower Sir Raymond Gower , Barry

On a point of order Mr. Speaker. Is not Question No. 15 in order?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I am going by the clock. The hon. Gentleman should study the Order Paper.