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NHS computer failing blamed for death.

The failure of an NHS computer system has been blamed by a coroner for the death of a child heart patient.

Three-year-old Samuel Starr was born with complex congenital cardiac disease and, when he was nine months old, underwent an operation at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children in March 2010.

He made a good recovery and was due to have regular checks ups and further treatment at the Paediatric Cardiac Clinic at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, a three-day inquest at Flax Bourton Coroner’s Court heard.

But a new computer system, CM Millennium, failed to generate appointment slots and Samuel did not receive a crucial follow up scan for 20 months.

During that time his heart had deteriorated and, when he finally got an appointment, his parents, Catherine Holley and Paul Starr, from Frome, were told Samuel needed further surgery.

The child underwent a second operation on August 7, 2012 but complications meant he suffered a stroke and several cardiac arrests two days later. A month later, his parents were told a further cardiac arrest was imminent and they should consider withdrawing treatment. Samuel died in their arms that day.

Coroner, Maria Voisin, recorded a narrative verdict and said: ""Due to the failure of the hospital's outpatient booking system, there was a five month delay in Samuel being seen and receiving necessary treatment. Samuel's heart was disadvantaged and he died following urgent surgery."

A Freedom of Information request revealed that there were 63 missed paediatric cardiac appointments as a result of the computer system – some of which took nearly two years to discover.