Dementia Debate – Call for public understanding
North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has called for greater recognition of dementia. Intervening during a debate in the House of Commons this week the MP said:
“We need much greater public understanding of, and support for, those who are caring for people with dementia and those with the condition that can strike not just elderly but younger people also. Some of us remember a former and much-loved Member of this House who, while still an MP, suffered from the disease. This is a message that we have to ram home to people”.
Speaking after the debate Sir Roger added:
“Tracey Crouch (Chatham and Aylesford), who has done so much to help promote this cause, was right to highlight the fact that it is no longer adequate for families to say “Nan`s gone a bit dotty” and that we do, as she added, “ need a change in the language that we use when talking about care”. We are dealing with a medical condition that strikes the elderly but also much younger people and the families and friends of those with Alzheimer`s and other related conditions need and deserve support and understanding.
I am very pleased that the Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, has so clearly recognised the need for action and that the Prime Minister, who referred to the forthcoming G8 summit in relation to dementia at Prime Minister`s question time earlier in the week is clearly committed to this cause.
That less than half of those suffering from dementia are formally diagnosed because of “shame” and the fear of stigmatising patients is, as the Secretary of State has acknowledged, unacceptable. We also have to bring to an end the postcode lottery for treatment and drive up standards across the country. I know from my own mailbag of a number of cases in North Thanet/ Herne Bay but I also know that there are many others who remain unidentified and untreated and we have to bring that situation to an end.
Dementia is a ”normal” disease like any other and it needs to be treated as such. Early diagnosis and the right treatment at the right time can mitigate the effects of the condition and allow those with dementias, and their families, to live much longer, enjoyable and fruitful lives than is at present the case. That is what we have to strive for.”