THE NHS has launched an urgent appeal to encourage Essex families to talk about organ donation.

During Organ Donation Week from today until Sunday, NHS Blood and Transplant is urging people to talk to their families about organ donation.

It hopes to increase the number of people whose lives can be saved or transformed by an organ transplant.

Last year 156 people in Essex had their lives saved by a transplant. Currently 125 people in the county are still waiting for that life-saving call.

Next year the law around organ donation is changing in England.

From spring all adults in England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate or are in one of the excluded groups.

Even after the law has changed, families will continue to be approached before organ donation goes ahead.

More families are saying yes to organ donation but there is still an urgent shortage of donors.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We need more people in Essex to talk about organ donation to increase the number of lifesaving transplants.

“Even after the law around organ donation changes next year, families will still be approached before organ donation goes ahead. So it remains so important to talk to your families about your views.

“Register your organ donation decision on the NHS Organ Donor Register and tell your family the choice you have made.

"If the time comes, we know families find the organ donation conversation with nurses or medical teams much easier if they already know what their relative wanted.”