Cancer sufferer says he nearly missed scan due to letter no show

A Claudy cancer sufferer has spoken out after almost missing an important appointment at Altnagelvin due to the non-delivery of notification letters.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 5:10 pm
Royal Mail has confirmed there has been some disruption to services.
Royal Mail has confirmed there has been some disruption to services.

Kevin O’Kane was scheduled for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan on Thursday but only found out about it when Altnagelvin contacted him about a COVID-19 test.

Mr. O’Kane, speaking to the ‘Journal’ at the end of last week, said: “It is a full week since we had any post.

“On Wednesday I got a phone call from Altnagelvin about a COVID-19 test because I’m going through cancer treatment at the minute and was due to undergo an MRI scan. I told them that I didn’t receive word but she said that the letter was posted out to me on Saturday. I told her that I hadn’t got it.

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“She was able to do the COVID test and tell me what time my appointment was at for otherwise I would never have been in.”

Mr. O’Kane claimed there had been no post in Claudy at all and that he had been told this was due to COVID-19 related pressures at the sorting office in Derry.

The Journal asked Royal Mail if there had been disruption to the mail service in Claudy but as the paper went to press yesterday the company had not yet responded.

Royal Mail did say last week, however, that ‘the health and safety of our colleagues and our customers is our number one priority’ and that ‘in a limited number of areas, we are experiencing some disruption to service.’

Mr. O’Kane is currently six months into a course of chemotherapy.

“Only the hospital phoned me to do the COVID test over the phone I would not have known. If I had not got in there that would have been a lost appointment and me keeping someone else out of it. That’s the way I look at it. I’m not the only one that is sick,” he said.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has called on Royal Mail to address problems at the Derry Sorting Office.

He claimed local postal workers have been struggling to meet demand for months.

“Not for the first time, absences as well as general Royal Mail staff shortages have resulted in a reduction of delivery service levels across the city.

“I have spoken with several Royal Mail staff who have relayed to me their experience in recent months. It is clear they are under increasing pressures and have expressed concerns that they’ve been unable to avail of annual leave entitlement given the staff shortages,” he said.

Mr. O’Kane said: “It’s not acceptable in this present day and age. It’s not acceptable in 2021.”