An extract from yesterday's Hansard:
Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford) (Con):
Figures published yesterday show that over the past 20 years there has been a 137% increase in the number of deaths linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Does the Prime Minister agree that if we are to stop that awful condition from afflicting more people in the future, we must invest much more in preventing it and on research in particular? Will he outline to the House what the Government are doing to help support those with dementia and those who care for them?
The Prime Minister:
My hon. Friend raises a point of concern to everyone in this House and everyone in this country, because no one knows when a relative could be afflicted by the condition. Her point is absolutely right: this is a disease and we should be thinking about it as a disease, as we do when we try to crack cancer, or heart disease, or strokes. That is why the Government are increasing the amount of money going into medical research so that we can try to prevent dementia in more cases. But there are many other things we need to do to improve the care in care homes and in hospitals and to ensure that we have more dementia-friendly communities so that we all learn how to deal with people who have dementia and how to help them lead lives that are as productive as possible.
This is very interesting. First, Cameron is stating publicly that 'it' is a disease and comparing it with cancer heart disease and stroke. Millions agree (the clue is in the name: Altzeimer's Disease). But it isn't treated like these other diseases either in the way that people with the disease are cared for (their treatment is not 'free at the point of use') or in terms of the amount spent on research (the modest increase in no way reflects the scale or impact of the disease).
It will be fascinating to see whether he stands by this statement, actions speaking louder than words.
I'm inclined to think that it's just the usual PR. As a politician he makes a fine PR man.
But at least now these words are on record and there's something to try and hold him, and others, to.