THE amount of people in the West Midlands choosing to donate their organs after their death increased by seven per cent in the past year.
Figures by NHS Blood and Transplant show 156 people in the region who died in 2013 chose to donate their livers, hearts, kidneys, lungs and other organs, up from 145 in 2012.
Across England 1,103 people donated their organs last year – up from 984 in the previous year.
Public health minister Jane Ellison said she was pleased by the increase.
“Agreeing to organ donation at a time of loss must be incredibly difficult for families but it’s heartening to see an increase in donations in England in the past year,” she said.
“I would like to thank families for this - I know that many take great comfort and pride from the fact that their loved one helped others to live.
“But so many more people could still benefit from a transplant, so I encourage all those that are able to to join the NHS Organ Donor Register.
“Doing so removes an element of uncertainty for a family at a very difficult time and helps to save even more lives."
The NHS has invested heavily in supporting organ donation and transplants since 2007, including establishing specialist nurses in hospitals.
Records show families are more likely to consent to their dead relative's organs being used for donation when that person has made their wishes known before they died.
Director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant Sally Johnson said every day three people in the UK die while waiting for an organ transplant so more needed to be done to encourage people across the country to sign up as donors.
“Our heartfelt thanks go out to every family who, at a time of great sadness, either supported their loved one’s wish to donate their organs or made a decision to donate on their behalf," she said.
"By doing so they have helped transform the lives of others.
“The increase in donors in 2013 is testimony to all the hard work that takes place within hospitals, to the commitment of critical care and emergency department staff to donation, and most of all to the generosity of donors and their families."
To sign up as an organ donor call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.