Let's hope there’s truth in the talk of a funding reprieve for the rural health body Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa NZ (RHAANZ).
Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHANZ) has 40 member organisations all interested in the health and wellbeing of rural communities.
RHANZ chair Dr Jo Scott-Jones has applauded the Health Minister Jonathon Coleman's proposal for changes to legislation to enable district health boards to decide about fluoride.
"It is clear that health authorities have the scientific capability to properly assess the claims and counter claims about the safety and efficacy of fluoridation and that this decision would be better made under the auspices of health authorities," Dr Scott-Jones said.
"Rural communities and their local councils [now] make judgements on the validity or otherwise of complex research about the value of fluoride and claims of potential harm.
"The threat of litigation and confusing information presented leads many smaller rural communities to either avoid the debate altogether, or to change policy from time to time. As a consequence, many smaller rural communities do not have the opportunity to benefit from fluoridation," he said.
Scott-Jones said RHANZ's local authority members had asked the organisation to support the request that the Government amend legislation to empower health authorities to make this decision.
"We are pleased to report wide support amongst our members for this change. We look forward to the opportunity to supporting the process of legislative change in the near future."
Scott-Jones says fluoridation is a public health issue that is of key importance to small rural communities.