NEARLY 150 people in Hampshire have died while waiting for organ transplants in the last decade, it has been revealed.

Figures released by the NHS at the start of Organ Donation Week on Monday coincide with a call for people to tell their families they want to become donors.

Hundreds of life-saving transplants are being missed every year because families don’t know what their relatives wanted.

In Hampshire, there are currently 161 people waiting for transplants.

Overall, 148 people have died on the list over the last ten years.

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation said: “It’s a tragedy that people are dying unnecessarily every year in Hampshire waiting for transplants.

“We know that if everyone who supported donation talked about it and agreed to donate, most of those lives would be saved.

“Tell your family you want to save lives. A few words now can make an extraordinary difference.

“It will also make things much easier for your family to make the right decision.”

Across the county, the NHS says there is a particular need for more black and Asian people to talk about donation.

There are 24 black or Asian people from Hampshire still waiting for a transplant.

Patients from those communities make up 29 per cent of the national waiting list but are less likely to agree to donate.

Research also shows that women are 30 per cent more likely to start a conversation about donation than men.

Mr Clarkson added: “Would you accept a life-saving organ? If you would, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?”

Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, said: "I was very pleased to be able to support the Kidney Care UK and the NHS Blood and Transplant service at a joint reception in Parliament this week.

"Ever increasing numbers of lives are saved each year by people giving the ultimate gift of life upon their passing and I would encourage all those who are eligible to register to be an organ donor.”

Southampton City MP Royston Smith echoed those sentiments.

He said: “When my father died 18 months ago, staff came up to me shortly afterwards to ask about transplants, and he was a donor.

“I could have said no, and that would have been the end of it, but it wasn’t awkward and they were of course, professional.

“As long as staff in hospitals are talking to relatives and loved ones, then that’s all that they can do and these figures are of interest, but nothing could be done about them.

“I personally am not a fan of the opt-out scheme, as people shouldn’t have to feel guilty about raising their hand and saying no to being a donor.”