For many years, dementia sufferers in Britain have been victims not just of a debilitating condition, but of widespread ignorance as to its causes or cures, and also of government neglect. Now, however, the issue is finally being treated with the seriousness it deserves.
Some 800,000 people in Britain have been diagnosed with dementia. Twice as many may have it in some form. Our ageing population means the number of sufferers is expected to more than double by 2050, with all the healthcare costs that entails. Dementia victims already occupy a quarter of hospital beds.
The Prime Minister ought, therefore, to be congratulated for making investment in dementia research and diagnosis a top priority under Britain’s forthcoming chairmanship of the G8. At a difficult time for their party, he and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, have shown long-overdue leadership on this critical issue.