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 Peter Smith Saturday, 14 July 2012 11:20 posted by Peter Smith

    Tried all emails recommended and all failed.
    Any ideas.
    Thanks to Gareth and Daryl.
    Just as well someones reading the small print!!!

  • Comment Link Elise Saturday, 14 July 2012 06:59 posted by Elise

    In regards to a message posted yesterday by Elizabeth Curphey, I am shocked that BUPA seem to say whatever they like! My colleague and I have been BUPA recognised providers for around the last nine years or so; I asked BUPA when we first received the April letter whether we absolutely needed to join the new network and was told; "Yes, absolutely," otherwise we would no longer be recognised by BUPA, and therefore be unable to invoice them for fees. We have found it hard enough getting money from BUPA before, and have had so many issues with overdue payments and policy excesses. Yesterday we both withdrew our application to join and resigned as providers.

  • Comment Link Graham Thomas Saturday, 14 July 2012 05:55 posted by Graham Thomas

    I have never registered as a BUPA provider. It seemed wrong to me that as a registered professional I had to be recommended by two Consultants as I understood was the case at the time of my graduation. How many I wonder were recommended by consultants who had no real personal experience or knowledge of the work each practitioner did.
    The Industrial complex is interested in the bottom line and their is plenty of evidence out there of companies who protect the bottom line without concern their product causes injury or death. The lying referred to of which I have no first hand knowledge is no surprise and should not be but is totally unacceptable.
    For me the forgoing is reason enough to have no part of this company, regardless of the fee structure offered.
    I am very glad to see the Profession of which I am a part coming together like this. It has been a concern for me that we are perhaps moving into a time of prepackaged treatments one solution fits all, while we all know each patient is a unique individual.

  • Comment Link Elizabeth Curphey Friday, 13 July 2012 22:33 posted by Elizabeth Curphey

    I too have not agreed to be part of the BUPA network, but the way the conversation went with myself and the lady from BUPA was that although I had opted out of the network and therefore I would not be recommended by BUPA should a BUPA patient ask to see an osteopath, I would still be recognised by them and continue to carry on submitting invoices for my normal fees. She confirmed that the network is already up and running, which I wasn't aware of. I have to say I am rather confused by this and wait to see what happens the next time I submit an invoice to them! I did actually record my conversation with them, and double checked with the lady from BUPA that I had correctly understood what she was telling me. Thanks to Daryl and Gareth for starting this petition.

  • Comment Link Daryl Herbert Friday, 13 July 2012 22:32 posted by Daryl Herbert

    A huge WELL DONE, to us all - THANKS

    This maybe just the beginning! We need to maintain this good effort

    Watch this space!

  • Comment Link Lance Turvey Friday, 13 July 2012 22:05 posted by Lance Turvey

    Have refused to deal with BUPA for the last 2 years, have always found them difficult to deal with. So not going to bother filling in their forms or act on their request for me to phone them.

  • Comment Link Ben Medniuk Friday, 13 July 2012 21:16 posted by Ben Medniuk

    WooHooo.. I see the magic 1000 signatories has been achieved.

    Thank you Daryl and Gareth for a fantastic effort in every regard.

    And, well done to a Profession united..
    I only hope this will persist long into the future...

  • Comment Link anon Friday, 13 July 2012 21:12 posted by anon

    Just want to re-post the other email address kindly provided by another poster here:
    if you also cant get the [email protected] email address to work use [email protected]
    as an alternative as that is the contact from that department that originally emailed the new terms.
    Well done all :)

  • Comment Link Soran David Friday, 13 July 2012 21:02 posted by Soran David

    In common with the great majority of osteopaths I’m sure, fee structure has no bearing on the attention, treatment and care I provide for my patients but as has been mentioned on this website, BUPA’s suggested fees discriminate against the majority of our patients who are not their members. Further, it is disingenuous for BUPA to make this offer to us and yet charge the rates they do at their Canary Warf Centre.

    But beyond this immediate action, we shouldn’t overlook some more fundamental issues. In subscribing to private business dictating the terms and value of our treatment, we allow the potential erosion of our scope of practice to take place, and could find ourselves in a similar position to our counterparts in the United States who are utterly at the mercy of Private Medical Insurers.

    Many, many thanks to Daryl and Gareth for organising this campaign and all the useful information contained in this website – as well as the unified voice demonstrated by those who have commented here and taken part in the mass resignation.

  • Comment Link Chris Stapleton Friday, 13 July 2012 21:01 posted by Chris Stapleton

    I've let them know I no longer wish to be a BUPA provider, and used the opportunity to let them know why, in no uncertain terms.

    Was with some regret, but felt rather good to be part of this movement actually ....well done everyone and great thanks to G&D in particular :)


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