Calls have been made for improvements to the “grossly inefficient” postal service in Aberdeen, after an entire street spent one week without mail – potentially including vital coronavirus vaccine letters.
Richard Williamson’s home on Macaulay Drive, Airyhall, did not receive mail for a full week, with neighbours reporting similar issues.
At the same time, other parts of the city have still been getting letters and parcels on a daily basis.
Royal Mail says the coronavirus pandemic is having an effect with staffing levels hit by self-isolating workers and processes slowed by the need for physical distancing.
As a result, it says some areas may experience a “temporary reduction” in services.
Mr Williamson’s backlog of post arrived yesterday and he has suggested a better way of working to spread out any impact on deliveries, rather than the current “grossly inefficient” set-up.
“I haven’t had mail since last Thursday, which seems incredible, and I’ve spoken to neighbours who haven’t had any either,” he said.
“We usually have mail daily and there’s a lot still to come from over Christmas and New Year.
“I understand Covid is affecting things but it seems to be strange it hits one area and not others.”
Mr Williamson has encouraged postal bosses to rotate resources from better-staffed areas to those missing deliveries.
This way, he said, the impact of the pandemic would be more evenly spread between communities in the city.
He added: “This is at a time when many elderly people will be waiting anxiously to get information about being called for their Covid vaccinations.
“I fully understand the problems may well be due to a reduced workforce caused by Covid-19 but for Royal Mail management to allow such disparity seems grossly inefficient.”
Others in the city have also experienced issues with the postal service as a result of pandemic pressures.
One man, who lives in the south of Aberdeen, received a letter from the blood donation service on Thursday, January 7.
But, dated December 24, it was a reminder of an appointment they had booked for December 31.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: “Every item of mail is important to Royal Mail.
“We are working hard to deliver the most comprehensive service we can to all our customers in challenging circumstances.
“Despite our best endeavours, it is possible that some areas of the country may on occasion experience a temporary reduction in service levels due to coronavirus-related absences and necessary social distancing measures at their local mail centre or delivery office.
“In such cases, we always work hard to get back to providing a normal service as quickly as we can.”
She added the company will “always endeavour” to keep customers informed of changes, including via the dedicated coronavirus section of its website.
Airyhall, Broomhill and Garthdee councillor Ian Yuill said it is important the postal service continues to deliver for residents.
He said: “People are hugely grateful to the Royal Mail staff who have continued to work through months of lockdown and restrictions.
“They also understand that staff illness and Covid social distancing requirements have an impact on postal services.
“Even in the era of email, people depend on a reliable postal service.
“It is important that Royal Mail are open about the impact on services and do everything possible to ensure regular deliveries.”