Epping Forest MP Dame Eleanor Laing has taken up the cases of numerous constituents who have not had regular postal deliveries for more than two months, and is calling on Royal Mail to make a "rapid and significant improvement" to the current "unacceptable" situation.

One Chigwell resident who contacted Dame Eleanor said that since early November they regularly receive just one delivery a week, and have had no deliveries at all since December 23.

They said they are concerned their son could miss vital hospital appointments if letters are not received.

Another constituent, in Buckhurst Hill, said he was anxiously waiting for bank cards to be delivered.

Royal Mail senior public affairs manager Michael Hogg has told Dame Eleanor 43 per cent of staff at the Debden Delivery Office, which serves the IG8 postcode area, are currently off work, with the figure up from 40 per cent on December 11.

He said the absences were for coronavirus-related issues, and with five staff members now shielding.

He added some staff were absent for long-term sickness reasons, weekly rest days and annual holidays.

Mr Hogg added: "We continue to have a range of measures in place to adhere to the Government's social distancing guidelines to protect our people and the communities we serve.

"Volumes are also up on this time in previous years putting additional pressure on our people."

Additional agency support workers and vehicle hire put in place to manage deliveries at the Debden Delivery Office over the Christmas period have been kept on to help address the issue, he said.

He said deliveries are taking place "at least every other day and collections from Post Offices, postboxes and businesses are taking place as usual".

Dame Eleanor said: "Obviously my best wishes go to all those staff who are off sick or having to shield however it is an unacceptable situation that so many people in the area have been without regular postal deliveries for such a long time."

She added: "When so many people are having to stay at home, it is all the more important that they can expect regular post deliveries so they can keep in touch with loved ones, and not have the worry of not receiving important items of mail such as hospital appointment dates, financial documents and bank cards.

"I have written to Royal Mail and welcome the reply that promises that the cases I have highlighted will be investigated.

"I sincerely hope there is a rapid and significant improvement in the level of service currently being provided in the area and that deliveries can very soon return to the level of service expected."

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