Homes are left without mail for up to a MONTH in 28 delivery ‘blackspots’ due to coronavirus
Royal Mail has revealed 28 delivery ‘blackspots’ across Britain which are suffering from limited postal services as more of its workforce is affected by Covid-19.
Thousands of people living in the zones, which cover sections of London, Essex, Kent, Suffolk, Somerset and Yorkshire are only getting limited deliveries.
With some affected residents complaining of not having had mail delivered for more than a month, fears have also arisen that elderly residents will not receive notifications of when a coronavirus vaccine is available to them.
The affected areas include 13 in or near London, while others include Leeds in West Yorkshire, Chelmsford in Essex, Widnes in Cheshire and Margate in Kent.
Some 130,000 letters have already been sent to people aged 80 or older and 500,000 more are due to be sent out this week.
The Royal Mail has revealed there are 28 delivery ‘blackspots’ across the UK which are suffering from limited postal services as more of its workforce is affected by Covid-19
Thousands of people living in the zones, which cover large sections of London, the south east and Leeds, are only getting limited deliveries
Hainault resident Valerie Wallbank told the Ilford Recorder she had not received any mail since December 12.
It is understood that in the run-up to Christmas, as much as 40 per cent of the postal workforce in the area was off sick or self-isolating.
Royal Mail’s full list of 28 affected areas
- Ashford (TN23-TN27)
- Barnsley (S70, S71, S72 and S75)
- Basildon (SS13-SS16)
- Bow (E3)
- Bury St Edmunds (IP28-IP33)
- Chelmsford (CM1-CM3)
- Christchurch (BH23)
- Daventry (NN11)
- Debden (IG7-IG10)
- Enfield (EN1-EN3)
- Grays (RM16-RM20)
- Hampton (TW12)
- Highbury (N5)
- Hornsey (N8)
- Horsham (RH12, RH13)
- Ilford (IG1-IG6)
- Leeds City (LS1-LS5)
- Lewisham (SE13)
- Magherafelt (BT45, BT46)
- Margate (CT7-CT9)
- Rugeley (WS15)
- Somerton (TA11)
- South Ockendon (RM15)
- South Woodford (E18)
- Upper Holloway (N7)
- Wandsworth (SW18)
- Wellington (TA21)
- Widnes (WA8)
‘It’s quite serious,’ she told the paper. ‘Some people are not bothered because they do everything online but for some of us it’s quite important.’
The issue has prompted calls, including from MPs and the Communication Workers Union (CWU), for postal workers to be added to the priority list of people receiving coronavirus vaccinations.
In a statement published with the list on its website, Royal Mail said it was ‘working hard to deliver the most comprehensive and high quality service we can to all our customers’.
‘The combination of greatly increased uptake of online shopping, and the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, mean that all delivery companies are experiencing exceptionally high volumes,’ the statement said.
‘Despite our best efforts and significant investment in extra resource, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales than our usual service standards.
‘This is due to the exceptionally high volumes we are seeing, exacerbated by the coronavirus-related measures we have put in place in local mail centres and delivery offices to keep our people and customers safe. In such cases, we always work hard to get back to providing our usual level of service as quickly as we can.’
Ilford MP Wes Streeting said while it was understandable that Royal Mail was being affected by the virus, the problems were having ‘a serious knock-on impact on people getting important NHS correspondence, both about their vaccination and also other routine appointments’.
‘I have been told locally that Royal Mail are prioritising the delivery of parcels to get the backlog down, but I wonder if there is a way for NHS correspondence to be clearly labelled as such and prioritised for delivery,’ Mr Streeting told The Daily Telegraph.
With some affected residents complaining of not having had mail delivered for more than a month, fears have also arisen that elderly residents will not receive notifications of when a coronavirus vaccine is available to them
‘No one wants to see a situation where people are missing their vaccination appointments.’
On its website, Royal Mail advises people in the regions who have been left a ‘Something for you’ card from the service to check its website to learn revised opening hours for when they can collect the item.
‘If we’ve not left a ”Something for you card”, and you do not have alternative arrangements in place, we’re sorry that your mail will not be available for collection,’ the advice says.
The Department of Health said it was working with the Royal Mail to ensure vaccination invitation letters were reaching the public, ‘but patients should also get a phone call, email or text inviting them for an appointment’.