Following our exclusive stories last week on the problems patients claimed to be having with the Centric health practice on the Longwood Road in Trim. the company have sent us two separate statements.

Interestingly they accept their receptionist can be short tempered, which was one of the patients main issues.

We have put them together for the sake of brevity.

‘There is a shortage of doctors nationally, not limited to Trim.  Fundamentally, growing population and longer life expectancy are not being matched by a corresponding increase in qualifying doctors.  According to Meath County Council, Trim and environs has a population of 37,000 – up from 8,268 in 2011 (CSO).

‘Currently there is a continuously increasing demand for healthcare both in hospitals and private primary care practices, that cannot be adequately met.

At Trim Medical, our focus is on providing a good primary care experience for all our patients, so we have tried to counter this under-supply issue in a number of ways.

‘We upskill nurses and primary care assistants to help free up doctor availability.  We have added administrative and operational supports to the practice to reduce the burden of paperwork on doctors so that they can focus on patient care.  We work in an efficient, modern, purpose built clinic and have 4 doctors and 5 nurses and continue to recruit for more clinical staff.   We have developed and are adding online booking systems to the practice website in the next 6 weeks, which should alleviate phone line congestion.  We have enabled repeat scripts to be ordered online and e-scripts are sent by us directly to the patient’s nominated pharmacy so patients no longer have to phone us for them.

‘We would love to have enough doctors to see every patient for same day appointments, but currently, this is not possible, not for lack of effort on our part.  We are full every day and the emergency appointments we do hold back daily are also fully booked, every day.  We are deeply concerned that we cannot accommodate all patients and we are working hard to come up with solutions that will address this.

‘We are aware that there are regular complaints around phone congestion.  Receptionists can only give out appointments if there are appointments available.  They do not randomly decide who attends the doctor. The real issue is not a shortage of phone lines,  or even a short tempered receptionist, which we do not condone,  it is the shortage of appointments versus demand.

‘Our doctors are clinically excellent, kind GP’s and they are in high demand.  Our receptionists try to accommodate urgent appointment requests every day, but again, we cannot meet demand. We are doing our absolute best to try and look after our patients but sometimes receptionists have to deliver bad news to patients that there are no appointments available.

‘ We have no record of any patient awaiting medical records.  If the patient in question could email us on we will endeavour to assist promptly.  Medical records are ordinarily released within 4 weeks of request as per industry standard.

‘We appreciate patients need compassionate support and are so sorry to have to turn any patient away, it goes against who we are.  Some patients respond by becoming aggressive towards our staff, a situation that serves no one.  Unfortunately, Trim Medical t the time in question, there was alarm that some of the comments reflected patients who were decompensating.

‘As you reported in your previous post, it can be difficult to get an appointment at short notice in the practice.  We reached out to the patients we were concerned for and offered to bring them in for a consultation or see if we could help them in any way.  Clearly, we would have had to explain why we were concerned for the patient in question and perhaps they might have been surprised as a result.
‘We do not access medical records inappropriately or outside of GDPR guidelines.  Reception and administrative staff have access to patient records as part of their day-to-day activity-booking appointments, filing test result, organising referrals etc.
 ‘It would be inappropriate to comment or discuss any patient’s private conversation beyond the above. ‘