Bupa Osteopaths

Bupa Changes - Osteopath Information

What does it mean?



Late this April, Bupa recognised providers received a letter, inviting them to join a new Osteopath & Chiropractors Network. The only way to continue their recognition is to join this network, but the new terms & conditions will fundamentally change the relationship, not only between the insurer & the practitioner but also between the practitioner and their insured patients.

Current Petition Count

Osteopaths signed petition:
Osteopaths opted out of the new Bupa Osteopathy Network:
Patients signed petition:

Bones of Contention

The main problems with the new terms & conditions relate to

(a) Fees
(b) Extra administration
(c) Loss of professional autonomy

Although the issue of fees seems to be a problem primarily in areas of the country where it is more expensive to practice, the others affect ALL osteopaths, regardless of where they work.


Under the new network, Bupa are offering many osteopaths lower fees to treat their members than they are paying at present. Nearly half of all UK osteopaths practice in London & the Southeast, where both the cost of living & running a practice are much greater than in other regions of the UK. For this reason, osteopathic fees tend to be higher in these areas than in other areas of the country. It is in these areas that the greatest discrepancy seems to be occurring between what osteopaths are charging & what Bupa is prepared to offer.

Not only that, but patients will not be allowed to “top up” the difference between what an osteopath charges & that covered by Bupa. They are also taking control of if, and when, osteopathic fees will increase & by how much.

Extra administration

Bupa will require a report twice a year from each member of the new network that is, in effect, a written clinical audit of seven different aspects of your practice. Even more time-consuming will be, on demand, providing them with clinical outcome data. This will involve giving assessment questionnaires to every patient and compiling the data – a major research project in itself.

Loss of professional autonomy

Osteopaths will not be allowed to decide for themselves what treatment each patient needs, but agree to follow predetermined treatment protocols – “Bupa published care pathways”. You will also be required to give Bupa access to your patient records.

Although Bupa claim that they do not intend to interfere in clinical decision-making, the GOsC has raised concerns with Bupa about whether complying with these terms & conditions could potentially lead to a breach of the Standards of Practice (OPS). See the “Latest News” page for more information.

The full version of the Terms & Conditions for joining the Bupa network are available from their website here.

and an account of the potential impact of these on your practice can be downloaded from here.


What can I do about it?

1. If you are an osteopath please show your support by joining our online petition:


2. Encourage the BOA in its efforts to negotiate with Bupa Bupa by participating in their national survey of osteopaths’ opinions about the Bupa Osteopathic Network. It is open to ALL osteopaths that practice in the UK. See the “Latest News” page on how to do this

3. Write to your patients informing them of the situation & encouraging them to complain to Bupa (especially those in corporate schemes).

4. Spread the word. Talk about this issue to colleagues, send the address of this website to them by e-mail, Facebook, Tweet or use the add-this link at the top of the page.

5. Copy all the code in the box below and get your website manager to add it to a html page on your site. This will encourage your patients to visit this site:

6. Submit a comment to the Competition Commission about Bupa’s behaviour & how it is limiting patient choice. See the “Latest News” page on how to do this

7. Consider declining, or resigning from, the new Bupa Osteopathy Network as so many of your colleagues already have. See the “Latest News” about the massive response to “Bupa Resignation Day”


Writing to Patients

Bupa is most likely to listen to its policyholders as, after all, they are the ones who pay the premiums. That is why it is essential that we contact all our patients who have Bupa cover. Patients on corporate schemes, which provide a large chunk of Bupa’s income, could get the person who administers the health insurance involved. A few corporate schemes backing us would really make Bupa think again. A draft letter to patients is available to download from here.

A draft letter of complaint that can be adapted by each patient can be downloaded from here.

A poster for your waiting room, that can also be used as a flyer, can be downloaded from here.


Declining or Resigning

Whilst it is up to each practitioner to decide for themselves whether to join (or remain in) the new network, many osteopaths feel so strongly about these issues that they believe that it is not in the best interests of their patients to remain as Bupa “recognised providers” .A substantial number of osteopaths resigned en masse on “Bupa Resignation Day” on Friday 13th July 2012, and many more have joined them since. See the “Latest News” page for more information

Should you decide to join them, the most effective way of doing this is in writing to the address below. However, it is important that your letter includes an account of your reasons for resigning.


Dr Natalie-Jane MacDonald
Medical Director
BUPA Health & Wellbeing UK
Willow House
TW18 3DZ

or you can e-mail
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you, in anticipation, for your support of this protest.


  • Comment Link Helena Greenwood Tuesday, 17 July 2012 19:46 posted by Helena Greenwood

    Today I received a letter from BUPA (don't recall the department, but don't think it was Provider Management), saying Dr Natalie-Jane MacDonald has asked them to investigate my concerns...

  • Comment Link Jon Morton-Bell Monday, 16 July 2012 20:12 posted by Jon Morton-Bell

    Gareth & Daryl - Thank goodness for your campaign - I am so pleased I am not the only one out there who thought the Bupa Network offer was crazy and insulting. No disrespect to therapists who are termed therapists, but we are professional clinical practitioners and should be treated as such, we do not term general doctors or dentists therapists. Apart from insulting our intelligence, they also undermine the GOsC by suggesting that we all need to have an extended CRB check, if the GOsC do not need it why do they ? They are not a Registration Authority, yet they act like one. Many thanks once again and the same to all my colleagues who are fighting Bupa.

  • Comment Link Andrew Fung Monday, 16 July 2012 16:06 posted by Andrew Fung

    Gareth and Daryl, thank you for organising the campaign. It has been really heartening to see the number of petitioners soar. It may sound odd in light of the current situation but after 5 years of practising I was looking forward to signing up as a BUPA registered Osteopath. Hopefully our collective action (hooray!) will enable us all to register with BUPA in the future with a clear conscience. Thanks again

  • Comment Link Daryl Herbert Monday, 16 July 2012 15:34 posted by Daryl Herbert

    Dear All

    We are having an affect on Bupa, so please hang on in there. If Bupa call offering increased fees please remember all the T's & C's. We DO NOT WANT TO LOSE OUR PROFESSIONAL AUTONOMY!

    Things are happening, give it some more time!

    Best wishes


  • Comment Link Adam Monday, 16 July 2012 07:45 posted by Adam

    We emailed all our BUPA patients last week to tell them that they could no longer claim their treatment through BUPA and we have had this reply today.

    Dear Adam

    With reference to your email regarding the changes made by BUPA, I manage the BUPA contract for my Company and will take up the issues you have raised with the managing company we use as this not only affects any treatment I may require but also treatment for the rest of our employees.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


    I recommend everyone does the same.

  • Comment Link Rhian Pyart Sunday, 15 July 2012 07:53 posted by Rhian Pyart

    As a an osteopath with less than the required 5 years registration needed to join bupa I was powerless to have an active say in this debate. Until now! Thankyou for setting up this site. And I applaude all of you taking time to resign from bupa to take a stance. It is inspiring to have the profession working together.

  • Comment Link Sara Lovett Saturday, 14 July 2012 18:50 posted by Sara Lovett

    I too would like to add my appreciation for your efforts on behalf of the profession.
    When I first queried the new contract with BUPA I was told that over 75% of my fellow osteopaths had already accepted the new deal. I have several BUPA patients and under the circumstances felt I had little choice. However, the new BUPA contract remains unsigned on my desk and I have now written to them withdrawing my services.

    The administration side of BUPA seems to have been chaotic for some while. I often have to chase up payments and my Practice Manager wastes so much of her valuable time on the phone waiting for BUPA to respond.

    I strongly feel that BUPA's actions are an insult to our profession. I know we are not the only group to be targetted this way, but I am offended by the lack of respect and courtesy.

    There is a positive effect of this BUPA debacle however, it has brought us together as an active group that can probably make a positive difference for any future events.

    Well done to Gareth & Daryl

  • Comment Link Ronan OBrien Saturday, 14 July 2012 17:45 posted by Ronan OBrien

    Congratulations on a great campaign. It is heartening to see osteopaths working together. Regardless of the outcome with Bupa I think this unifying campaign represents a milestone for the osteopathy community.

    Re: some of the comments about Bupas email not working. Their systems would deal with 100,000s of daily emails.. it is doubtful any email issues have anything to do with this campaign.

  • Comment Link Kuno van der Post Saturday, 14 July 2012 12:38 posted by Kuno van der Post

    Daryl, Peter, I got an automated acknowledgement mid-morning yesterday, so the addresses are right, but it's possible their system can't cope with 1000+ emails a day on top of the normal traffic.

    I suggest snail-mail then.

  • Comment Link Daryl Herbert Saturday, 14 July 2012 11:46 posted by Daryl Herbert

    It maybe that Bupa's system is down? They may have stopped/blocked their email system as so many people bombarded them yesterday?
    Wait until monday try again or send letter or call them. All contact details on web site.

    Good luck


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