I know many residents across Bromley have been experiencing an intermittent postal service throughout the pandemic, with prolonged gaps in deliveries in some postcodes. In recent months it’s a problem I’ve taken up on numerous occasions, including again during a very useful meeting with a number of the Royal Mail’s senior management yesterday.
Of course, our postal service is always under increased strain over the festive season, but the added pressures of both the virus and those brought about by our changing shopping habits have, understandably, created a very difficult situation. With more people ordering online, I am told parcel deliveries are up 65% this year. These have to be given some priority in terms of delivery for the very simple and practical reason that if they weren’t, sorting offices would soon run out of space. At the same time, the Royal Mail is helping to deliver vital supplies like test kits and PPE.
Although the large majority of vaccine appointments are currently being made by telephone, one of my concerns has been that people would miss important medical letters if their post was delayed. Reassuringly, all correspondence from the NHS has its logo branded on its envelopes. Duty managers at sorting offices are doing a sweep of the remaining post every night and ensuring any letters from the NHS go out in a special delivery round the next day, so please be assured, no one should miss any correspondence from the NHS.
To give you an idea of the sort of challenges the Royal Mail is facing in terms of staffing, on 29th December 50 of the 117 staff employed at the Bromley sorting office were either off sick or isolating. As is the case every year, additional staff were taken on over Christmas to help ease the pressure, and from what I understand, anyone who wanted to stay on after the usual Christmas season has been given the opportunity to do so. The Royal Mail is also actively recruiting more staff, but given the nature of the role, security checks are necessary which can take time.
Of the 117 delivery rounds that make up the BR postcodes, 110 are currently back to a daily service. I will, of course, continue to raise any problems that are brought to my attention; if you encounter any issues with your post, please email me rather than getting in touch via Facebook or Twitter.
Finally, I would like to thank all of our local postmen and women and everyone at the Bromley sorting office for everything they’ve done over the past ten months. They’ve gone the extra mile to ensure the country can keep moving and are working under real pressure to maintain this vital service for all of us.
*The picture above was taken on a visit to the Bromley Delivery Office in December 2014*