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 Adam Friday, 13 July 2012 10:26 posted by Adam

    BUPA seem to have closed their email addresses down

  • Comment Link Sue Ferguson Friday, 13 July 2012 10:23 posted by Sue Ferguson

    Here is Bill Ferguson's open resignation letter to BUPA http://www.tenterdenosteopath.co.uk/health/insurance/osteopaths-say-bye-bye-bupa/

  • Comment Link Elise Veal Friday, 13 July 2012 10:05 posted by Elise Veal

    How do you know your message was sent to [email protected] ? No confirmation appears of sending!

  • Comment Link Bhopinder Chaggar Friday, 13 July 2012 09:21 posted by Bhopinder Chaggar

    Ive submitted my resignation. I have been practising for 10 years now and pleased to see that such great professionals stand together to right a wrong, or atleast stand and voice their opinion. So proud to be an Osteopath, and a part of a great profession!

  • Comment Link Ken Newman Friday, 13 July 2012 09:00 posted by Ken Newman

    Is this working out well for BUPA if patients will still come to see us even if they can't claim from BUPA. Patients are paying twice.

    That said I'm amazed at the response this has got. We need a new collective noun. No longer a disagreement of osteopaths.

  • Comment Link R Shin Friday, 13 July 2012 08:43 posted by R Shin

    I've just emailed to opt out. I'm glad I've done it, I've spoken to so many of my patients and they have all said that they would be willing to top up treatment prices. But for my it's not worth it. 7/10 of them have also said they would be willing to come even if they can't use their BUPA.

    I emailed and said I would be cancelling also my personal and family BUPA membership so that's another hit for their knackers. I told them too that I would not recommend anyone to join their medical care schemes...there are so many better ones out there.

  • Comment Link Julia Spicer Friday, 13 July 2012 08:19 posted by Julia Spicer

    Even though I was not contacted concerning the new terms as I was not one of BUPA's 'recognised osteopaths', I have to-day written to all the emails provided to explain that I would not be applying. Just because I wasn't on their list anyway doesn't mean it doesn't affect me or wont affect me in the future - so I urge all you in my situation to do the same. It affects us all whether we are part of the BUPA network or not.

  • Comment Link Kuno van der Post Friday, 13 July 2012 08:18 posted by Kuno van der Post

    I'm all set to join BUPA this year - but I won't. And I have told them so. It is not in my interests or that of my patients to go down this route. My advice to clients is to pay directly so that I may work for them and not an unqualified middleman. Pre-empting health problems this way is the best insurance they can buy.

  • Comment Link Phil Godfrey Friday, 13 July 2012 08:02 posted by Phil Godfrey

    Im going to send my email around 1pm.. but if I also cant get the [email protected] email address to work I will use [email protected] as an alternative as that is the contact from that department that originally emailed me the new terms.

    Many thanks to Daryl and Gareth for getting this website up and running!

  • Comment Link Sue Friday, 13 July 2012 07:53 posted by Sue

    it sent....in fact it must have sent it several times!!Oops


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