The number of people who have died while waiting for an organ donation in Merton has been revealed.

In the past five years, eight people lost their lives, waiting for an organ that never arrived.

Figures released by NHS Blood and Transplant also show that there are about 35 people currently on the waiting list for a donation, but that more than 60 per cent of people in the borough have not signed up to the organ donation register.

Anthony Clarkson, interim director of organ donation and transplantation at NHSBT, said the failure of prospective donors to sign the register or inform their families of their wishes is posing an obstacle to life-saving transplants going ahead.

“We don’t want people to die because of a fatal complacency - that because you know you want to be an organ donor you presume your loved ones know it too," he said.

“People are living moment to moment, in desperate need of someone saying ‘yes’ to donation.

“We all know that organ donation legislation will change in England and Scotland in future years but the harsh fact is people are dying right now waiting for an organ and it will still be important for people to know your decision.

“Your family’s role is critical."

Last year 16 people in Merton received transplants, but as of May this year, just 38 per cent had signed up to be a donor which was right around the national average.