The number of people prepared to donate organs increased by a million last year, according to the NHS’s organ donation task force implementation programme.

The total of 16.5 million is an increase of 7 per cent since June last year. After death donations rose from 809 in 2007-08 to 899 in 2008-09, and live donations from 858 to 961.

The task force is seeking to increase donation by more than 50 per cent by 2013, which it hopes will lead to 1,400 extra transplants a year. About 8,000 people are awaiting an organ.

Health secretary Andy Burnham said: “We have already invested £16.5m to implement the task force’s recommendations with a further £26.5m being invested in 2009-10.”

Lynda Hamlyn, chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, added: “The changes we are making, working closely with the Department of Health and devolved health administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, aim to improve dramatically organ donation and transplantation services across the UK, giving more people the opportunity to have their wishes about donation fulfilled.”