The family of a woman whose body was found in a "mummified, almost skeletal state" after almost four years since her death has slammed the NHS for failing to save her.

Laura Winham, 38, was suffering from schizophrenia. She is believed to have died at her social housing flat in Woking, Surrey, in November 2017. Her body was only discovered by her relatives in May 2021.

The police found "I need help" scrawled on a calendar in her house. They also found piles of unopened letters and letters containing bills from creditors.

According to The Guardian, the woman was estranged from her family because she had become erratic and experienced hallucinations. The family claims that these symptoms made her "reject them."

"We always hoped she would get better with professional help and that one day our contact would resume," her sister Nicky told Mail Online.

They have now accused the NHS of failing to take timely action. They added that she was "abandoned and left to die" by social services and the NHS. Her family said that welfare and care services failed to carry out routine checks despite Winham not replying to letters, phone calls and texts, or answering the door.

"Laura has been so badly let down. It's just heart-breaking to think of how she lived in her last few years, unable to ask for help, without anyone there for her, it's just tragic," her sister said, as an inquest into her death looms.

Police had visited Winham's flat just weeks before her death. They informed social services about the lack of food in her house. Adult social care teams closed her case after sending her details of local food banks and contact details for support organisations.

Winham had a number of health issues, including Goldenhar syndrome, schizophrenia, heart problems, and mental health. Goldenhar syndrome is a condition characterised by abnormal development of the eye, ear, and spine.

autumn budget 2017
NHS logo/ AFP Ben Stansall/AFP