ALMOST 200 people in the North-East and North Yorkshire have died while waiting for an organ transplant in the last five years, an NHS report has revealed.

Over the fixed period, 132 people in the North-East and 54 people in North Yorkshire died before they received an organ that they desperately needed.

Figures in the latest organ donation activity report also showed that while the NHS had recorded its highest ever number of organ donors across the country, there had been fewer people who died in circumstances where their organs were useable.

Responding, NHS bosses called for families to discuss a change in the law, that will enrol most adults in England into automatic organ donation, next year.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Organ donation is the only hope for many desperately ill people. We know many families feel a sense of pride and comfort from their decision to let their final act to be saving lives through organ donation.

“No lifesaving transplant would be possible without the generosity of every donor and their families, who give their support and say ‘yes’ to organ donation."

There are currently 284 people in the North-East, and 107 people in North Yorkshire, who are in desperate need of an organ transplant.

Mr Clarkson added: "Their only hope for a new life is that a family in their time of grief will make the wonderful decision to agree to organ donation.

“With the law around organ donation changing in England from next spring, we urge everyone to find out about the choices available to them, make their decision and share it with their family.”

According to the British Heart Foundation there are more than 300 people across the country who are waiting for a replacement heart.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “These new figures for heart transplants show just how important it is for people to talk about what they want to happen to their organs when they die. It could literally be the difference between life and death.

“Right now, there are 320 people in the UK waiting for a new heart, but one in six will not receive the heart transplant they need.

“However, as the organ donation law in England and Scotland changes to an opt out system, we are provided with a historic opportunity to ensure that the hundreds of people waiting for a new heart will receive one.

"To ensure this change is a success, the Government must now invest in further infrastructure, specialist organ donation nurses and more intensive care beds.”