EIGHT people in Powys have died in the last five years while waiting for an organ donation, it has been revealed.

The figures have been released by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) to mark Organ Donation Week (September 4 to 9). They show that there are currently 10 people from Powys on the waiting list for a new organ while 11 transplants have been carried out in the last year.

Wales is currently the only country in the UK which uses an opt-out system for organ donation.

People can still choose to opt in or out of organ donation, but those who do nothing are assumed to have given consent.

In Powys, 45 per cent of people had joined the register as a potential donor as of the end of May.

For Wales as a whole, around six per cent of the population had opted out by the end of the first quarter of 2018, and 40 per cent had opted in.

However, consent still has to be sought from a prospective donor's family after they have died, even if they have opted in.

NHSBT says some prospective donors are showing a "fatal complacency" by failing to inform their families of their wishes, which is posing an obstacle to life-saving transplants going ahead.

According to the organisation, a number of demographic factors could influence the proportion of people on the register in any given area, such as race, religion and age.

Black and Asian people are disproportionately likely to die while waiting for an organ because of a lack of donors from the same ethnic background, who are more likely to be a close match.

Research undertaken by the organisation shows people from ethnic minorities are less likely to talk about donation, while some religious people may have concerns surrounding burial practices.

However, an NHSBT spokesman said that "all the major world religions" approve of organ donation, and that they were working with charities and community groups to raise awareness.

People aged over 50 are also less likely to join the register, because they mistakenly assume their organs are no longer healthy enough to donate.

Only 27% of the people who joined the UK register last year were over 50, but 72% of people whose organs could potentially be used after their deaths are aged 50 or over.

Anthony Clarkson, interim director of organ donation and transplantation at NHSBT, said: “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.

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

"The harsh fact is people are dying right now waiting for an organ. Your family’s role is critical."