Former Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to help raise the profile of Alzheimer’s after years of seeing care homes filling up with people ‘entering a world of darkness’.
In a rare interview in the Financial Times, the former Witney MP set out his priorities post-premiership.
Speaking to the newspaper, the 51-year-old said: “I saw care home after care home in my constituency filling up with people with dementia who were entering a world of darkness, where they’d become completely disconnected from their surroundings, their relatives, their friends and their lives.”
Since he was appointed president of Alzheimer’s Research UK in January, Mr Cameron has got together scientists, philanthropists and the pharmaceutical lobby to focus on early diagnosis.
He said: “We don’t know where the cure’s going to come from, but it will almost certainly be made easier if we have early diagnosis.”
Mr Cameron said there is a huge challenge in getting big organisations to pump money into a cure, but added ‘we cannot expect pharmaceutical companies to do it for us’.
In 2015, the then-prime minister set two targets: for everyone with dementia to have a personalised care plan by 2020 and a cure or modifying therapy by 2025.
He said: “We’re on track to have in a country of sixty million people, a million people with dementia. The cost is already greater than cancer, stroke and heart disease combined. The willingness to donate is going up. We’ve got to make the most of it.”