More than half of the population in and around Watford who do not want to become organ donors will have to opt out of organ donation when a new law comes into effect.

The Government has announced that subject to parliamentary approval, the new Max and Keira’s law will be introduced from May 20.

It means all adults across England will be considered as having agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they record a decision not to donate. Currently, people have to opt in on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

The legislation will not apply to children.

But data suggests more than two thirds of people in Watford have not explicitly stated they are happy to donate their organs. Just 33,311 people in the borough – out of an estimated population of 96,780 - are on the organ donor register.

The number of current organ donors in Three Rivers is higher. 39,116 people are on the register, out of an estimated population of 93,060.

In Hertsmere and Dacorum, more than 100,000 people are organ donors – 39 per cent of the population in both boroughs.

This means tens of thousands of people who are not currently organ donors will be automatically enrolled to be donors, unless they opt out.

Nationally, more than 6,000 people across the UK are on the transplant waiting list, while in 2019 more than 400 people died waiting.

Anthony Clarkson, director of organ donation and transplantation for NHS Blood and Transplant, hopes the new law encourages more people to record their donation decision and talk about organ donation with their families.

According to the NHS, 62 per cent of people in England are aware the law is changing, but Mr Clarkson hopes the number is higher by the time the law changes.

The new rules will be known as Max and Keira's Law in honour of Max Johnson, a 12-year-old heart recipient and his young donor Keira Ball.

Max said: “I am very excited that we now know when the law change in England will actually happen. There are so many people who are waiting, just like I was, for the call to say that a suitable heart, kidney, lungs or liver has been found.

"I just hope that this law change can help save more lives. When you are waiting for a transplant, every day counts and I hope that everyone who hears about the law change will be reminded to speak to their family, so they know what you want.

“I am proud that when people speak about Max and Keira’s Law, they will be reminded to think of Keira, and I hope by remembering her in this way, that she will go on to help save even more lives than she already has.”

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, added: "Too many people lose their lives waiting for an organ, and I've been determined to do what I can to boost organ donation rates.

"So I'm incredibly proud of the action we are taking with this new law. This is an important step forward in making organ donation easier and more available to those who need it and could help save hundreds of lives every year.

"I pay tribute to the brave campaigning of families such as Max and Keira's, whose tireless work on this issue has made a huge difference."

Organ donation statistics are from the NHS Blood and Transplant website.

Estimated population numbers were taken from the Office for National Statistics' mid-2018 data.