AN INVESTIGATION into the death of a young, autistic man who died while waiting for an operation at a hospital is to be reviewed.

Mark Stuart, 22, spent five days in agony and died of a cardiac arrest at Royal Blackburn Hospital in 2015 following a catalogue of failings.

His parents Richard and Janet Stuart told the BBC that their son had been left starving and desperately thirsty in hospital while waiting for a delayed operation – and that they have been battling for answers for four years since.

This is despite the publication of an independent report last year, which found the trust did not provide Mr Stuart with a consistently high standard of care and treatment.

The investigation also found there were weaknesses in aspects of both his nursing and medical care, while it said his death may have been avoidable.

A report seen by trust board members last year found that Mr Stuart suffered with acute abdominal difficulties and had a number of other medical conditions, including autism and mild learning disabilities

Now, because of the family’s ongoing concerns, NHS investigators in north west England have offered to meet Mr Stuart’s parents to discuss the independent report into his case.

Mrs Stuart, from Kendal, told the BBC: “We’ve had to push and push to get information out of them and that’s why we’re here in 2019 discussing something that happened in 2015 because of the pushing.

“There have been delays in responses.

“Our opinion is, they want this brushed under the carpet and gone away.”

In a statement, the trust apologised unreservedly to Mr Stuart’s family for its failings in his care, but denied any cover-up.

A trust spokesman said: “The circumstances surrounding Mark’s death in 2015 have been fully considered at a public inquest, as well as several independent and internal investigations.

“We have met with the family on a number of occasions, shared the findings of the investigations and assured them of changes we have made as a result of this incident.

“We have never sought to cover anything up.

“Indeed the independent external investigation commented on the openness and transparency of the trust.

The spokesman added: “However, we fully understand that neither our apology nor the changes made, will adequately address the feelings of Mark’s devastated family.”