Post delays leave couple waiting on vital IVF letter

A couple hoping to have their first child have been left waiting for a vital letter as the Wirral experiences post delays following the controversial suspension of 11 staff.

Jennifer Tomlinson is hoping to have a baby with her husband Liam starting in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment at Arrowe Park Hospital in Upton. Despite essential forms for hospital tests and a letter explaining the next steps being set off in the post in July, they still haven’t come through.

Jennifer is one of many people in Wirral experiencing problems with receiving post following the suspension of 11 postal workers at the Prenton Delivery Office over a row about where staff take breaks.

The action was reportedly taken after postal workers were found to have been taking their work breaks at the Caernarvon Castle pub in Oxton and the Swan in Prenton. A regular at the Caernarvon Castle said they only ever saw them drinking tea and coffee in there.

It was later revealed that six of the 11 suspended workers have been fired from their jobs.

Postal services have been seriously affected by the move, with roughly a quarter of the local workforce either suspended or sacked.

While Royal Mail says it is working to improve service delivery and has apologised, residents in Prenton and Oxton say the disruption has been going on for more than a month, with some claiming to have missed hospital appointments and other important reminders because of the delays.

Jennifer is still waiting for a letter explaining the process of her IVF treatment. She said, “The lady at the hospital was lovely and knew it was going to be a lot of information to take in, so she would send a letter explaining everything and my blood test forms that I would need to take to hospital me when the timings were correct at different points in my cycle.

“Fast forward to today and I still haven’t had them in the post. I haven’t received any post at all really which is so disappointing.”

Jennifer called the hospital and was able to pick up the forms but the letter explaining what will happen next still hasn’t arrived, leaving her feeling anxious. She said, “ I just feel unprepared for the journey to come as a lot of it went over my head so I was relying on the post to give me a heads up on everything really.”

“This is really important to me, we’ve been waiting so long. Above all else, a hospital letter needs to be delivered.”

She added, “I have been hoping every day that it is on the doormat when I get home from work. I’ve been waiting and waiting for the letters to arrive and to no avail. It’s been making me anxious that I haven’t got the in-depth information that I need to read that the fertility clinician mentioned in the appointment.

Jennifer thinks the whole situation with the posties in Prenton is “a storm in a teacup” and hopes the decision gets reversed. She said, “Royal Mail doesn’t realise how important the postal service is, I’d love it if they could email everything I needed but it’s a security risk so it has to go in the post.”

She added: “This is really important to me but imagine the elderly that rely on post to receive anything and they are none the wiser.”

Jennifer is not alone. One Beechwood resident said they received a post on 14 August for the first time in three weeks, adding that deliveries “have been very hit and miss” and he’d missed a reminder letter to renew his car tax.

Chelsea Jade Neil with sixth month old Talia

Chelsea Jade Neil, a new mum, received a NHS blood pressure appointment letter on 11 August, four days after the appointment on 7 August. She had been waiting for an appointment for about three weeks. Fortunately, she was able to rearrange it after receiving a text but is worried about future appointments.

She said, “Ever since I have had the baby I have been struggling with high blood pressure to the point I am out of breath very often. It’s taken so long to get somewhere with it and then to almost miss the appointment and all of that going to waste.”

She added, “I am expecting quite a few at the moment to come through. It is worrying especially because it’s just the one department who is sending me the texts. I do not know if I will get the texts.

“When I had my maternity appointments, I didn’t get texts I only got letters so it makes me worried that I might be missing appointments.”

Birkenhead’s MP Mick Whitley has criticised Royal Mail over the situation and Oxton councillor Stuart Kelly has called for the suspended staff to be reinstated. Cllr Kelly said, “Whatever their internal management problems, people in Oxton and Prenton want a proper post service and it is essential that Royal Mail focus on providing that.”

A Royal Mail spokesperson said, “We are sorry to residents who have experienced delays in Prenton. Improving quality of service is our top priority and we are committed to restoring service levels to where our customers expect them to be.

“We would like to reassure residents that we are actively working to drive a better service in the area. Additional recruitment is underway with three new starters and seven new agency staff already on board.

“This has helped fill vacancies at the office and is helping to drive the reliability of deliveries. We hope and expect to see further progress going forward.”

Main image: Jennifer Tomlinson with her husband Liam are trying to have a baby through IVF

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