The Aspen Medical Practice was formed following the merger of four practices (Heathville, Barnwood, London and Saintbridge Medical Practices) in April 2018. The Aspen tree has a long standing place in medical history with aspirin made from a derivative found in the bark of the trees.
The name was primarily chosen as it symbolised what we were trying to achieve. The mighty Aspen tree for centuries has symbolised a sense of adventure and encourages us to recognise our own wings. Once we’ve done this, we are equipped to fly and make the changes we know are needed. We just need to muster the courage to spread those wings.
The Aspen’s network of roots allows them to multiply and connect with others, and we recognise there is strength in numbers. We are currently operating in a climate with increasing pressures and fewer available resources and health care professionals. As isolated practices we were unable to recruit and this was adding to the burden of existing doctors and staff.
From this we made the decision to unite and survive. We saw an opportunity to work differently and shape a practice where we could provide high quality modern care to our patients whilst preserving the wellbeing of the health care professionals and all staff delivering that service.
Symbolic meanings of the Aspen tree
- Permanence – we celebrate our roots as being four traditional practices which came into being many years before the NHS itself, and we build on these roots in order to create an organisation that will be here to care for its patients and the generations yet to come.
- Strength and determination – it has taken courage to move away from all that was familiar to set up something completely new and to bring four practices together and to put in place the biggest reorganisation in the history of NHS General Practice in the region.
- Focus and clarity of purpose – the partnership has been very clear what the purpose of this merger was – to create a practice where we could all survive and thrive.
- Flexibility – significant change was inevitable, for staff and patients alike, but the only constant in healthcare is change itself. Being a larger, more resilient organisation will allow us to weather the seasons of demand and change with greater purpose.
- Awareness – of the problems we face as a group of GPs gave us the desire to take control of the situation in order to preserve our practices and to be able to continue to provide care for our patients. To ignore these problems would have been effectively putting our heads in the sand.
- Opportunity – through this adversity, we saw an opportunity to come together and reshape things, using our own knowledge and experience, before change (as defined by others) was forced upon us.
- Connectivity – through this process, we have formed new relationships with each other and are in the process of developing a new practice culture. We understand the importance of nurturing relationships not just with our patients and our own team, but also our colleagues working throughout the NHS in order to improve the overall NHS experience for people who need it.
- Transformation – we have embraced new ways of working, plan to develop our online digital services provision and pride ourselves on being early adopters of new technologies that we will improve the effectiveness of the care we will provide and the safety of our patients.