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Thursday, 27 September 2012 12:22

GOsC Report on their Meeting with Bupa

In July this year, I wrote to the GOsC about my concerns that the T&Cs of the new Bupa Osteopaths Network contract could cause osteopaths to breach the new Osteopathic Practice Standards (OPS).

http://tinyurl.com/LetterToGOsC-Bupa

 

The GOsC have taken this matter very seriously & the Registrar, Tim Walker, met with Bupa in August to discuss the position. This was after Bupa wrote their “reassuring letter” to all previously “recognised providers” in late July. You can get the GOsC’s formal response to my letter & the account of Tim Walker’s meeting with Bupa here…

 

http://tinyurl.com/GOsC-ReplyBupa

 

In a nutshell…

 

The GOsC shares our concerns about professional autonomy, data collection & the potential negative impact of these changes on the quality of patient care.

 

Professional Autonomy

 

  1. The GOsC can only regulate the behaviour of osteopaths – not insurance companies like Bupa. However, if such an organisation was to put pressure on an osteopath to do something that would breach the OPS, then the GOsC would get involved & “fight the osteopath’s corner” in order to protect the best interests of patients.

 

  1. Bupa is expecting osteopaths to sign up for their “care pathways” before they are even published – we don’t know what we are signing up for or when they will be published.

 

  1. The “care pathways” are similar to the new NHS “Any Qualified Provider” (AQP) pathways. Bupa claim that they will be not be prescriptive, but for directing patients to particular practitioners or specialities for particular conditions (e.g. low back pain). We won’t know for sure until they are published.

 

Extra Admin & Data Gathering

 

  1. Again, the clinical audit & outcome data gathering tools that Bupa will require us to administer are still in the developments phase. We won’t know what we are committing ourselves to if we accept the contract.

 

Fees

 

  1. Although this is not an area that the GOsC can involved in directly, they expressed their concerns to Bupa that, as a consequence of the forcing down of fees below market rates & the extra admin, the amount of time osteopaths spend with their patients may be reduced & this could compromise the quality of care.

 

Bupa denied this, claiming that there is “no proven link between quality and cost”. Whether this is true or not for the clinical environment, it is interesting that many insurance companies, such as Bupa, offer “median to upper quartile” salaries & large bonuses when recruiting directors, in order to attract & retain the best candidates.

 

Sadly, in spite of all this, there are still no signs of any proposals from Bupa regarding altering the wording of the T&Cs in the contract.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 27 September 2012 12:44