THE mother of an autistic woman who died after a lack of understanding and support from a North East NHS Trust said the impacts of the inquest were “massive.”

Jean Zaremba told her daughter's inquest that she had been “driven to her death” following a wrong diagnosis.

Read more: Autistic woman who was 'driven to her death' by misdiagnosis faced 'lack of support'

North Yorkshire coroner John Broadbridge concluded a lack of understanding and support for autism from Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust did contribute to Zoe’s death in June 2020.

The inquest heard how the “actions and inactions” of the NHS Trust along with the care system being “underdeveloped to manage an autistic individual and her complex needs” was “detrimental” to Zoe Zaremba.

Mrs Zaremba, speaking after the inquest today, said she was “very pleased” with the outcome and feels that “society needs to know how Zoe was mistreated due to a lack of understanding of autism.”

She sad: “It’s just getting it out there that so many autistic females, they get such a bad wrap because nine times out of ten they get misdiagnosed.

The Northern Echo: Jean ZarembaJean Zaremba

“But what frustrated me and I couldn’t understand was that Zoe already had an autism diagnosis.

“They were saying to the police, she was going to have her autism diagnosis, but I said that she’d had her autism diagnosis, for eight years now.”

Ms Zaremba continued to talk about the lack of support offered by many trusts for those actually suffering with autism, rather than family members.

She said: “This is what we found when we were trying to get help for Zoe, there was support for me, support for anyone who worked with autistic people, but there wasn’t anything for the autistic person.

Read more: North East NHS trust's 'lack of understanding of autism' led to woman's death

“It’s just shocking, and unless you live with it you don’t know and people just say, oh well they’re just badly behaved, no they’re not.”

Asked about how she felt now that it had been confirmed that lack of understanding and support of autism did contribute to Zoe’s death, Ms Zaremba said she was “pleased that that’s been recorded and recorded for public.

She added: “I was slightly concerned having heard before that this has happened before and lessons have been learnt and nothing actually changes.

“I believe that because of what they did was so wrong, and lots of stuff is out there on Twitter, and the name alone, it’s not a name you forget, it’s had an impact.”

She stressed that the coroners decision to write a letter to Gillian Keegan, the Minister of State for Care and Mental Health and the trust, was “massive”

She said: “The fact of the coroner saying he will write to the trust about section 28, I think is massive, because you’ve seen it with things like Hillsborough or whatever, that unless they’re forced into it, by law, nothing happens.

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“As in some ways has been proved because almost two years after Zoe’s death, especially with autism, especially autistic females are still being told, we can’t help you because you’re autistic, why? Nothing has changed or it needs to.”


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