The Royal Mail has been slammed over missed hospital appointments in the lead-up to a hectic Christmas period.

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds has blamed the "poor standards of service" that have meant people have missed hospital appointments, invitations to weddings and funerals and time-sensitive letters.

Elsewhere in the county, Victoria Prentis MP for Banbury has visited the town's delivery office after folk were missing hospital appointments.

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Ms Prentis found the delivery office in Banbury sorting through mail to ensure NHS letters were delivered by priority, however, Ms Dodds is not aware of this happening in Oxford.

Barton resident David Lincoln is among those hit by the postal delays.

He claimed that he did not receive post for a month with the service "slightly improving" in recent weeks.

Mr Lincoln said: "It’s crazy. There is no excuse for it. Three or four people are doing track deliveries instead of letters which is more important.

"My wife missed a hospital appointment but didn’t realise until afterwards.

"It’s really annoying. This is why letters are so important. People are missing hospital appointments. People are not getting time-sensitive letters."

Oxford Mail: Staff at Royal Mail's parcel super hubHis views have been echoed by others in the county - including MPs - who have grown frustrated by the delays.

Ms Dodds said: "Royal Mail nationally really need to recognise the scale of the problem in Oxford and listen to what local posties and managers are saying about what is needed to fix the system.

"Trying to brush Oxford's challenges under the carpet will not work.

"This is especially important in the run-up to Christmas where there will potentially be even more pressure on the existing hardworking posties in Oxford."

Oxford Mail: Anneliese Dodds at the Cowley depotAnneliese Dodds at the Cowley depot (Image: Oxford Mail)In a letter shared with the Oxford Mail, Ms Dodds wrote: I am aware that the poor standards of service have meant that Oxford East residents have missed hospital appointments, invitations to weddings and funerals, important work and business related post and family communications like birthday cards, not to mention repeatedly receiving time-limited publications very late.”

Ms Dodd has visited the Littlemore sorting office unannounced twice this year.

On October 26, Ms Dodds found stacks of undelivered letters and parcels after entering through an unlocked door.

Royal Mail said it is "committed to restoring our quality of service" and "have plans in place"  to improve deliveries.

Oxford Mail: Staff at Royal Mail's parcel super hub

Around 6,000 postmen and women have been recruited nationally over the last 12 weeks, and the postal service is taking on 16,000 temporary workers for the Christmas period.

A spokesperson said: “In the lead up to Christmas, we are taking on 16,000 temporary workers, more vehicles and additional parcel sorting sites to handle double the normal volume of parcels we expect over the period.

“These actions plus others are already making a difference in some areas and we are confident that they will continue to improve the quality of service for our customers.”