AN ARTIST’S body was found “badly decomposed” at her flat after mental health nurses failed to check on her.

Angela McKay, 56, had a history of self-neglect and had been sectioned at Mill View hospital in Hove last summer after her mental state deteriorated.

She received good treatment at the hospital and was improving, so medics discharged her and in September she moved back into her home in Lancaster Road, Brighton, an inquest heard.

But Miss McKay distanced herself from her close friends, who were worried she could not afford things such as food.

Her weight dropped significantly in December and friends said Miss McKay, who was schizophrenic, looked starved and dehydrated.

Nurses from Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s community mental health team visited her on December 19 after a friend raised the alarm the previous day, but Miss McKay did not let them into her flat.

Friend Tanya Rutland called the trust on December 30 following a worrying phone call from Miss McKay, but nurses failed to visit the flat on New Year’s Eve – the last day the self-employed artist was seen alive.

The court heard the nurses should visit within a day of receiving a call.

The missed visit “reduced her possibility of recovery”.

In a statement, Ms Rutland said: “I feel Angela has been let down by the mental health services.

“Not only was she known to them, but they also knew of her history – she lived alone and was vulnerable.

“I hate to think what happened to Angela could happen to someone else.”

Miss McKay was found dead in a chair in her living room by police on January 11. Brighton Coroner’s Court was told she died in the first week of 2018 – though an exact date could not be ascertained.

David Manser, one of the nurses who visited Miss McKay, was asked if her behaviour on December 19 was a cause for concern, but he stood by his actions.

Claire Williams, the community mental health team’s service manager, said her team “should have done more”.

A serious incident review was carried out and Ms Williams said disengagement from the services “should be a multi-disciplinary service”.

Coroner Catharine Palmer said Miss McKay’s death was unascertained and called the community mental health team’s work “suboptimal”. Recording a short narrative conclusion, she said: “Angela was found deceased in her home in a decomposed state.

“Concerns regarding the deterioration in her mental health had been raised with services in the days before she was found, but that was not sufficiently investigated, therefore reducing the possibility of recovery.”