Amelia Walker (representing East Sussex County Council) and Martin Downs (representing Brighton & Hove City Council – the Safeguarding authority) participated in a 2-week jury inquest touching upon the death of a young adult that generated considerable publicity after it heard evidence about the dearth of provision for people with autism.

The Senior Coroner for West Sussex and the City of Brighton and Hove concluded,

“Sadly this case yet again exposes the totally inadequate level of community provision for the care and treatment of those with suffering with Autism. This is a national problem and sadly leads to many experiencing unnecessary admission to inpatient facilities and also A&E attendances.”

Despite a report from the [House of Commons] Health and Social Care committee from 2021 [HC21] there sadly does not seem to have been any real improvement and more lives are likely to be lost. Reading from this report, the Coroner said, “The conclusion of this report was that Autistic people (and people with learning disabilities) have the right to live independent, free, and fulfilled lives in the community and it is an unacceptable violation of their human rights to deny them the chance to do so.”

The report goes on to say that “the community support and provision for autistic people (and those with learning difficulties) and financial investment in those services is significantly below the level required to meet the needs of those individuals and to provide adequate support for them in the community.”

The Report to Prevent Future Deaths is addressed to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.