Scottish health minister Susan Deacon has announced a public consultation on putting fluoride into tap water.

Ms Deacon made the announcement during a public health debate in the Scottish Parliament, saying it was in response to a UK-wide review.

York University's centre for reviews and dissemination was asked to conduct a review of fluoridation by then health secretary Frank Dobson.

Its preliminary report, Fluoridation of Drinking Water: a systematic review of its efficacy and safety has been available for some months. A final report is due to be published on 16 October.

But the lack of action in England has prompted concerns that the issue has been put on the back burner.

The preliminary report was broadly supportive of fluoridating water as an effective and safe way of reducing dental decay among young people.

Ms Deacon said: 'It is unacceptable that over half of our five-year-olds still have signs of dental disease. That figure is worst where deprivation is keenest. I want to get people's views on the further steps they would like to see taken. 'The consultation document will also contain options for giving children fluoride tablets or drinks.

Ms Deacon said: 'This document will set out clearly and illustratively the salient facts about oral health in Scotland, describe what we are currently doing and seek views on the further measures that might be taken. '

The move was welcomed by the chair of the British Medical Association's Scottish public health committee, Dr Charles Saunders, who said: 'All the evidence shows that fluoride is highly protective of the teeth of children, is safe and provides protection which lasts into childhood. '

But Conservative leader in Scotland, David McLetchie, said: 'Such a move would be mass medication without consent and a serious violation of civil liberties and individual choice. '

Scottish health minister Susan Deacon has set up an independent review group, chaired by Professor Sheila McLean, to look at organ retention in children's hospitals in Scotland.

The first stage of the review, expected to report in January next year, will review past practice and help to develop a new code of practice.

A second stage will examine the state of the law and issues relating to the ownership of human tissue and post mortem procedure. The review comes after Ms Deacon rejected calls for a public inquiry into organ retention from parents of children who died at Yorkhill Hospital in Glasgow, which admitted organs had been retained after post mortems earlier this year.