The NHS Blood and Transfusion service has apologised for a computer error which meant that some people had organs removed incorrectly, or presumably not removed, because their preferences were wrongly recorded in the database.
The mistake affects 800,000 people who had their transplant wishes wrongly imported from the DVLA.
The NHS Blood and Transfusion service stressed that only 21 people had died with the incorrect details on their records. In these cases the families had given permission for donation to go ahead but individuals' preferences may have been incorrectly recorded.
The service said: "We sincerely apologise for any distress this may have caused. We can reassure everyone that no organs have been donated without the support of the deceased's nearest relatives and that no one has been registered as a donor against their wishes."
The group blamed a "technical error" which only affected those who had registered their preferences via the driving license application form. It will be contacting those on the database to check their preferences have been recorded correctly.
The mistake came to light when the service began writing to people thanking them for joining the Organ Donor Register.
The full statement is here. ®