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Elisabeth Buggins, the chair of the UK Organ Donation Taskforce, has urged people to discuss their intentions for their organs with loved ones.
She told ITV News presenter James Mates that talking about the issue helps to avoid grief stricken decisions which can burden families at times of death.
A one-year-old baby is recovering from a heart transplant at the Royal Brompton Hospital.
The family of Carina Marcangelo say she is in a critical condition following surgery on Sunday but making steady progress.
Carina had a disease which damages the heart and became the youngest person in Britain to be fitted with a mini-defibrillator.
Carina has cardiomyopathy which damages the heart. She spent her first birthday completely sedated on life support at the Royal Brompton as she awaited a donor organ.
She became the youngest child to be fitted with a mini defibrillator (ICD) in her chest in November at just 9 months old. The device gave her heart a shock if its rhythm worsened.
Carina could only receive a heart from a one-year-old to a small five-year-old. The average waiting time for a heart is around 3 months.
The upturn in organ donors proved to be a lifesaver for singing heart patient Vincenzo Avanzato.
He spent 13 weeks on an urgent list awaiting an organ - knowing every day in hospital could be his last - before receiving the greatest Christmas gift of all.
Craig Boden was told he would not survive without a new liver.
But a new organ preserved his life with his partner and two young daughters.
Up to 1,000 people die every year due to a shortage of organs for transplant, NHS blood and transplant said.
To register to become a donor, visit the NHS website.
You can also join when registering for a driving licence or car tax, applying for a Boots Advantage card, registering with a GP or registering for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
According to the NHS, the increase in donated organs has led to a 30.5 per cent boost in the number of people receiving organ transplants in the last five years.
Since the Organ Donation Taskforce published its recommendations five years ago, new measures have been introduced by NHS Blood and Transplant:
- Employing a network of 250 specialist nurses in organ donation who support families to consider organ donation
- Funding the appointment of a named clinical lead and a Donation Committee in each hospital or Trust across the UK to promote donation, ensuring every potential donor is identified
- Creating specialist organ retrieval teams to facilitate donation whenever and wherever it may happen
- Promoting donation and the need for society and individuals to commit to become organ donors through public awareness campaigns
Dr Paul Murphy, an intensive care consultant in Leeds and NHS Blood and Transplants national lead for organ donation called the 50% increase in donations a "landmark event". He said:
The number of people donating organs after death has risen by 50 per cent in the last five years.
Around 3,100 transplants took place within the last 12 months, with more than 1,200 people donating their organs.
The increase has been credited to the hard work and dedication of staff, the NHS said.
In 2008, the Organ Donation Taskforce was established to find ways to get more people to donate, as there had been almost no increase in the number of donated organs over the previous decade.