China reports 18,400 voluntary organ donors by July

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The new system presumes that over-18s in England are in favour of donating their organs when they die, instead of the current system where people opt in by signing the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Jackie Doyle-Price, parliamentary under-secretary of state for mental health and Inequalities said: 'Organ donation saves lives.

There will be exceptions - children under 18, those with diminished mental capabilities, and foreigners who have been in the country less than 12 months - and relatives can still override the "presumed consent", if the "donor" has relatives in the first place to object.

But Mr Beggs added: "Sadly, however, in the ongoing absence of an Executive at Stormont, and after a previous attempt to introduce an opt-out system here in 2016 was scuppered by the DUP and Sinn Fein for primarily political reasons, Northern Ireland will soon have the most outdated and inadequate organ donation system of any part of the UK".

The move comes after 411 people in the United Kingdom died while waiting for a transplant in 2017.

From December 2018, the NHS Organ Donor Register will also include the option for people registering to donate to state that their faith is important to their organ donation decision.

And less than half of families give consent for their loved one's organs to be donated.

Specialised nurses will be available to discuss organ donation with families so that an individual's choices are respected.

A new law to tackle organ donor shortages in England could save up to 700 extra lives every year, according to the government.

The announcement follows a consultation earlier this year, in which the Government sought views from members of the public about organ donation, receiving an unprecedented 17,000 responses.

"We want to continue to see ongoing engagement with the wider BAME and faith communities to ensure that the new system is fully understood and everyone can make an informed decision". "Of course, the reason why the government have shifted from the opt-in to the opt-out position is to increase donations - which is a good thing, but done in a way which is at risk of being done by slight of hand".

The legislation, which was introduced in parliament in July 2017, will return to the House of Commons in the autumn.

Organ donation saves lives.