STAFF at an under pressure pharmacy are abandoning their phonelines to prioritise in-store duties, it has been alleged.

Pensioner Brynley King says he called Boots, in Vine Drive, Wivenhoe, at various periods last Monday but was met with radio silence.

It follows complaints from Leslie Mason, 68, who called the shop 59 times in one day to pick up lifeline treatment for his partner but also didn’t receive a response.

Now Mr King, 71, claims he was told by a member of staff at the shop that when they are busier than normal they do not answer the phone.

“I tried literally all day on Monday and without any success at all,” said the retired British Railway worker.

“When I got through on Tuesday morning a young lady without any hesitation told me there are certain times of the day when they’re so busy they don’t have anybody to answer the phone.”

Gazette: Shop - Boots, in Vine Drive, WivenhoeShop - Boots, in Vine Drive, Wivenhoe

A Boots spokeswoman conceded the shop is experiencing challenges with its resources, resulting in disruption.

But both Wivenhoe residents, Mr King and Mr Mason, told the Gazette they believe the town’s infrastructure has not been built in line with its residential growth.

“It’s the only pharmacy in Wivenhoe, a town which has been growing and growing but nobody has paid attention to the infrastructure, which should grow at the same time,” said Mr King.

“This Boots is a very small premises, the impression I get is one of absolute chaos and pandemonium.

“It’s a crazy situation and I can’t think of a situation where a public service office like this can’t ever afford to not answer the phone."

The Boots spokeswoman added: “Like other pharmacies, we are experiencing some challenges with pharmacist resource.

"Our teams are working hard to keep stores open, minimise disruption for customers and provide the best possible service.

"The situation is now improving in our Colchester Wivenhoe store and we apologise to patients who have been impacted."