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 sue Friday, 13 July 2012 07:49 posted by sue

    I can't get my email to 'send' to [email protected]. Is it me? I've now sent to customer relations just in case!!!

  • Comment Link Laura Humphries Friday, 13 July 2012 01:09 posted by Laura Humphries

    Today's the day! It's brilliant to see the massive vote of confidence in our profession - and themselves as pracitioners - shown by all those who've signed the petition and are making their stand known to BUPA. Thanks to Gareth and Daryl for bringing us all together. And here's hoping that BUPA listen to reason. It's not too late. Let's get those emails sent!!!

  • Comment Link Christine Lister Thursday, 12 July 2012 22:38 posted by Christine Lister

    Thank you Daryl and Gareth,
    I have been in Practice 23 years and still love osteopathy.
    Under the restrictions that Bupa have put before us we will not be able to practise osteopathy - it would end up being something else. Most of us are individual practitioners without Practice Managers and admin staff. To fulfill all the administrative and audit demands and provide treatment at lower fees would make us operate at a loss . Each 30 minute treatment would generate another (perhaps)30 minutes of admin so the actual fee we are working for would be diluted even further. I am sure a lot of my colleagues like me often spend a lot longer than 30 minutes on a treatment.
    Bupa's proposed interventions are far reaching and will limit the quality and scope of treatment and care that we provide.
    I will be opting out of the Bupa Osteopathy Network for the same reason as everyone else - I want to continue to provide the extraordinary level of care and service to my patients that they have always received and I don't want to be subjected to Bupa'sintervention that would lessen the quality of care I am able to offer.

  • Comment Link Tim Curtis Thursday, 12 July 2012 22:29 posted by Tim Curtis

    It appears in all their infinite wisdom that Bupa seem to have left out one small detail.. The patient! or do they now view them as PDF documents. Nice to be part of a profession that stands by its principles

    And who said the human spirit is dead.. Rock on osteo's

  • Comment Link Daryl and Gareth Thursday, 12 July 2012 22:03 posted by Daryl and Gareth

    Dear All

    I am amazed by the response on the web site and the supportive emails sent to me & Gareth, its great please keep it up. I am uncertain how the numbers work out, petition sign ups and osteopaths opting out? I have not yet had time to look at the stats from the web site! That will probably occur next week. So keep watching this space. At this time we must keep on talking and getting colleagues, patients, etc to maintain this great momentum. The numbers have really swelled in the last few days and the web site activity is really high.

    Don't forget to email tomorrow

    Thanks again

    Daryl & Gareth

  • Comment Link Kamila Barry Thursday, 12 July 2012 22:01 posted by Kamila Barry

    Thank you Daryl and Gareth for coordinating this mass resignation.
    I have been in practice for 13 years and not registered with BUPA until they recently accepted my application.
    I was not comfortable with that decision and I am really glad to see the profession united in the fight for the autonomy. I have just emailed my letter of resignation as BUPA provider stating all the reasons.
    I fear they are like Ryanair trying to introduce low cost health care but all the exras are on us. This would make way for the insurance providers to follow.
    I pointed to them that our local BUPA hospital charges over £100 for a physiotherapist treatment.
    They have also done the same to podiatrist.

  • Comment Link Adam Thursday, 12 July 2012 21:35 posted by Adam

    There is no way you could get 1500 osteopaths to agree on anything..... no wait. At least BUPA are good for something.

  • Comment Link Bart Shonkser Thursday, 12 July 2012 21:25 posted by Bart Shonkser

    As from tomorrow I am going to erect a poster in my practice and give leaflets to all my patients containing the following (feel free to copy / adapt)...


    BUPA are currently in the process of changing the way they provide for patients consulting many types of healthcare professionals, including OSTEOPATHS.

    In the future you, the patient (and policy holder), will no longer be able to see the Osteopaths of your choice unless that Osteopath has signed up to the new BUPA OSTEOPATHS NETWORK CONTRACT which includes restrictive terms and conditions, onerous administration / paperwork and heavily capped fees (less than the price of a decent haircut!!!). BUPA are looking to pay osteopaths the same fee country wide, even in Central London where overheads for running a clinic are at their highest. Furthermore, patients will not be allowed to top up any short fall in session fees.

    The OSTEOPATHS at this Practice find the terms and conditions and fee structure of the proposed new contract untenable and much to their regret will be forced to resign as BUPA providers UNLESS the proposed contract and fee structure is radically changed. This is only likely to happen if patients and policyholders complain strongly to BUPA.

    If you are concerned, as we are, by these plans by BUPA please complain by one or ALL of the following means:

    1)Write to:
    Dr Natalie-Jane MacDonald
    Medical Director
    BUPA Health & Wellbeing UK
    Willow House
    TW18 3DZ

    2) Email: [email protected]
    3) Phone: 0845 609 0111

    If you have a corporate BUPA policy please highlight these issues and complain to your HR manager (other Private Medical Insurance Companies operate a much fairer and better quality system).

  • Comment Link Andrew Pallas Thursday, 12 July 2012 21:18 posted by Andrew Pallas

    Thanks for orchestrating the best symphony of osteopaths I can remember seeing, we're all singing form the same song sheet!

    I'm just wondering what kind of percentage of eligible osteopaths the opt out total represents?

  • Comment Link Robi Persad Thursday, 12 July 2012 20:26 posted by Robi Persad

    I am grateful to Daryl and Gareth for setting up this website and uniting the profession on this issue. I have no intention of running a 2 tier practice dictated by BUPA and discriminating against patients who do not have private insurance.


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