Reading teacher waiting for baby's delayed passport 'desperate' to visit sick father

  • ITV Meridian's Mel Bloor speaks to people affected by passport delays

A primary school teacher from Reading says she's been waiting almost three months for her baby's passport.

Julia Wordsworth is desperate to travel to Canada to visit her father who has health issues.

She was due to fly out on June 24 but was forced to cancel her flight as the passport did not arrive.

Julia has rebooked the trip but has had to pay an extra £500 for the new flight.

Mum fears she could miss her son playing football for England due to passport problems

  • WATCH: Frustrated Julia Wordsworth hits out at the delay

Julia said: "When we put in the passport application, we were told six to ten weeks so we thought we had nothing to worry about.

"We've had very little response from the Passport Office when we do try to contact them. When you ring them, you just get pre-recorded messages.

"My dad has had problems with his lungs and we really wanted to spend some time with him.

"I was looking forward to some quality family time, to see my parents and my brothers, and we're missing out on that now because the passport hasn't arrived.

"The rebooked trip is also for a shorter amount of time as I am a primary school teacher and my partner is a police officer and we weren't able to take the same amount of leave later in the year as we had planned to in June."

Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) says it is seeing unprecedented demand as more than 5 million people delayed applying for passports during COVID-19.

It anticipates 9.5 million British passport applications will be made this year.

In March 2022 alone, HMPO processed more than one million new passport applications, the highest output on record.

Since April 2021, HMPO has been advising people to allow up to 10 weeks when applying for their British passport. 

More fast-track appointments are being made available to help meet demand Credit: PA

What is Her Majesty's Passport Office doing to meet increased demand?

  • HMPO has increased staff numbers by 500 since April 2021 and is in the process of recruiting another 700. In total, as of 1 April 2022 there are over 4,000 staff in passport production roles

  • Additional staff are being recruited to assist with customer queries on the Passport Adviceline which is currently run by Teleperformance

  • It has onboarded more delivery companies to ensure passports and supporting documents are delivered on time to customers

  • It has increased availability for fast-track appointments and extended working hours across the 7 HMPO public counters – new appointments are released daily, 3 weeks in advance

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