New data has revealed that Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia accounted for 12.7 percent of all deaths in England and Wales last year.

Data for 2017, published by the Office for National Statistics, show that there were 67,641 deaths attributed to the condition, marking a rise from 2016, when there were 62,948 deaths from dementia.

The figures have prompted Alzheimer’s Research UK to call for “urgent investment” in dementia research.

“These figures yet again underline the overwhelming impact of dementia for the UK, and for hundreds of thousands of families who are hit by the condition,” said Dr Matthew Norton, director of Policy and Strategy at the charity.

“With one in four hospital beds occupied by someone with dementia and deaths from the condition rising, we must take urgent action. As well as support for dementia research, the condition must become a priority for the NHS 10-year plan.

“We must make dementia research a priority if we are to bring about much-needed life-changing treatments.”

Overall, there were 533,253 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2017, a 1.6 percent increase from 2016 and the highest number registered annually since 2003.

However, age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) decreased for both sexes in 2017 as did those for cancers, respiratory diseases and circulatory diseases, while rates for mental and behavioural disorders, and diseases of the nervous system increased by 3.6 percent and 7.0 percent respectively.

“The number of deaths increased in 2017 to the highest level since 2003. The population is both growing and ageing - when you take those things into account, mortality rates decreased slightly from 2016 to 2017, for both males and females,” said Vasita Patel, Vital Statistics Outputs Branch, Office for National Statistics.

“Mortality rates for cancers, respiratory diseases and circulatory diseases have also decreased. However, rates increased for mental and behavioural disorders, such as dementia, and diseases of the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. This could be partly linked to a better understanding of these conditions, which may have led to better identification and diagnoses.”