New figures released today from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) also show that the number of patients waiting for a heart transplant has risen by 162 per cent in a decade, because of the growing population and improvements in medicine.

Prof Stephen Westaby, of the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford: “I am a great supporter of cardiac transplantation. Some patients live for 20 years with excellent quality of life, but we can only treat one per cent of people.

“How does a society value a treatment that needs another young person to die first and is applicable to less than one per cent of those who might benefit?