ALL adults across the North-East and North Yorkshire will be automatically enrolled onto the organ donor register later this year, unless they specifically 'opt-out' of doing so.

Currently, there are around 1.4m people registered to donate their organs and tissue across County Durham, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and North Yorkshire, out of around 3.7m eligible people.

Under the new law, all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their organs when they die unless they specifically record a decision not to donate.

When will this happen?

Subject to a majority of MPs approving the Organ Donation Act, it will come into effect on May 20, meaning the number of transplants carried out each year should increase by around 700 per year.

The latest announcement came as the NHS said more than 400 people died last year while waiting for a transplant in the UK.

Who's excluded?

Those under the age of 18, and those who lack the 'mental capacity' to understand the new law will be automatically excluded from taking part.

People who have also lived in England for less than a year, or who are described as not living here voluntarily will also be opted-out automatically.

Will my family be involved?

The NHS said that it will still work with families before any organ or tissue donation goes ahead. It said NHS Blood and Transplant Specialist Nurses will continue to speak with families about specific decisions.

The Northern Echo:

What the NHS is saying

Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We hope that the new law encourages more people to record their donation decision and talk about organ donation with their families."

"It is important for people to know that they can do this at any time before or after the law comes into effect, there is no deadline for making your donation decision.

“We are encouraged that almost two thirds of people in England are now aware that the law is changing, but we would like this figure to be even higher by the time the law changes.

“The majority of people tell us that they support organ donation in principle, yet only around 4 in 10 have actually registered their decision.

“For those who have not thought about organ donation before, or who still have questions, we have lots of information available on our website and our team of helpline advisors are available to answer any queries.

“Organ donation is and always will be a precious gift and if more people are inspired to support and agree to donation, then many more lives can be saved.”

What the government is saying

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: "Too many people lose their lives waiting for an organ, and I've been determined to do what I can to boost organ donation rates.

"So I'm incredibly proud of the action we are taking with this new law. This is an important step forward in making organ donation easier and more available to those who need it and could help save hundreds of lives every year.

"I pay tribute to the brave campaigning of families such as Max and Keira's, whose tireless work on this issue has made a huge difference.