The brother of a woman with severe mental health issues has expressed his “frustration” at the way his sister has been treated by Barnet’s social services.

The 33-year-old, of Edgware, whose sister lived in the town for nearly a year, said he was “upset” by the “awful” conditions she was left to live in.

He described how when he last visited his sister, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, her flat stank of human waste and was overrun with flies.

The brother, whom we have agreed not to name to avoid identifing his sister, said: “Social workers came round every week, they could see the mess she was living in, they could see someone couldn’t live in such conditions. It was their duty to try and help her – but that wasn’t the case.”

The flat is owned by housing association Habinteg, which provides accessible homes to allow people to live independently.

Neighbours Vincent Bathie and Louis Magill expressed their concern about how the woman had been treated and how her condition had disrupted other residents, many of whom were elderly or had heart conditions.

Mr Magill, who lives opposite, described how the woman would start screaming in the middle of the night, waking residents.

He said: “She slept during the day and spent the night screaming at her voices. This happened day in and day out. It reverberated around the courtyard and disturbed everyone’s sleep.”

He described how residents had called police and paramedics on numerous occasions, such as Christmas Eve when she started piling the contents of her flat outside his door and April 17, when she screamed constantly from 9pm until midnight, calling out “please help me”.

Mr Magill said: “They took her away but she was back at 6am the next day. We were shocked and horrified she was allowed to return.”

Mr Bathie said social workers, when they came, visited her very briefly.

He said: “Social workers would come to the door and say 'Hi, how are you doing?' and get out as quickly as possible. They stepped over the rubbish bags she left outside her door and which we had to clean up.”

Tenants' representative Terry Willie was shocked at how the woman had been left to live. He said: “Social services let this woman down. She should not have been left to live in conditions like that when social services were aware of it. The tenants are the victims too.”

He also questioned why the woman, who moved from Stanmore, had been allowed to live on her own in the first place, where there were so many vulnerable residents and no warden to cater for her needs.

The brother of the woman said he was frustrated at the extreme lengths he had to go to, such as contacting the head of every social services department and even his local MP, to raise awareness of his sister’s condition.

He added although his sister had been finally taken into hospital last Monday, he was angry her condition and her surroundings had deteriorated to such a “ridiculous” level before anything was done.

“My sister doesn’t have the means to look after herself, she needs round the clock care," he said.

“Of course I think she was failed by the system. Mental health is a swear word, people sweep these problems under the carpet and hope they go away.”

Barnet Borough Council and Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust issued a joint statement about the case.

The statement reads: “We cannot comment on individual cases. People with mental health issues are protected and have rights to live in the community the same as everyone else.

“We aim, as appropriate, for social workers and mental health workers to work closely with individuals enabling them to lead independent lives with the correct support from professionals and the relevant community teams.”