Only half of people who would like to be organ donors have expressed their wishes to the families, a poll suggests.

While 82 per cent of the English public would like to be an organ donor in the event of their death, just 50 per cent of these have told their families their wishes, NHS Blood and Transplant said.

Meanwhile, seven out of 10 of the 1,000 people surveyed said if they did not know a member of their family wanted to be an organ donor they would not agree to donation if asked.

Officials have urged people to “have the conversation” with loved ones so if they are faced with a difficult decision they will know how to proceed.

Anthony Clarkson, assistant director of organ donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We want to ensure that more people in the UK get the transplant they need and an important part of that is ensuring that everyone that wants to donate can.

“We’re delighted that so many people in the UK want to be organ donors but only 50 per cent of those who want to donate have told their family. If you don’t tell anyone your decision, how will your loved ones know what it is?

“Don’t make them guess at such a difficult time. When you’re next with your loved ones, have the conversation. Tell them that should the time come, you’d be proud to donate your organs. Then there will be no uncertainty.”