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 Gerry Gajadharsingh Thursday, 12 July 2012 12:59 posted by Gerry Gajadharsingh

    I think the profession is very fortunate to have both Darryl and Gareth being so proactive including setting up this excellent website, well done to you both. I recently sent out an online survey to new patients and found out that 80% of my patients are self pay. BUPA have Individual members fees payable for osteopathic intervention for many years, BUPA international and corporate members have been luckier often having 100% of the fee reimbursed. Like many of those choosing to opt out of BUPA's osteopathy network, I work in central London with large overhead costs so the proposed fee scale of £30-£40 is so unrealistic, I guess they must be living in cloud cuckoo land. Many of my patients are referred by private GPs and medical consultants who generally charge substantially more than I do but they refer to me because of my expertise in complex patients. For me the real issue is one of professional autonomy and the terms and conditions proposed by BUPA, in my opinion, respect my autonomy so much that is the real reason why I will not register under the current proposal.

    Just as a matter of interest AXA/PPP have also recently withdrawn my specialist status, simply stating I charge more than the going rate and were not really interested in the similar arguments I proposed to BUPA in my letter of " resignation". Perhaps AXA/PPP of being a little bit more clever in picking us off one by one. was fascinating about this decision was that AXA/PPP have generally Individual policyholder fees for many years. As far as I know nothing has really changed but AXA/PPP decided to take this unilateral decision.

    I guess what will happen is that the 20% of my patients currently using private medical insurance ( and who are covered by BUPA/ AXA/PPP) will cover will either opt to self fund or choose another provider who have more reasonable terms for the cover of Osteopathy.

    However I think it is still worthwhile for as many clinicians and patients who happen to often be our best advocates to use their contacts to see if it will help for private medical insurance to adopt a more reasonable policy.

  • Comment Link Denise Varley Thursday, 12 July 2012 12:19 posted by Denise Varley

    Am delighted to see so many of us standing together. As has been stated by others, we can not allow BUPA to dictate to us about how we work or how much we charge. We are meant to ALL, insurers included, be here for the patient's benefit.
    And what about their reminder letter - dated 6th July, mine arrived yesterday, stating I can still claim as long as authorisation prior to 6th July!!! So if we've taken on patients between then and now in good faith, sounds like they wont pay.
    Utterly unprofessional.

  • Comment Link Glenn Lobo Thursday, 12 July 2012 11:26 posted by Glenn Lobo

    Hi All
    its good to see the profession uniting against such an base attack. i will be resigning from BUPA as well.. part of my letter will state that we are recognised professionals.. Doctors charge £250/hr, lawyers £150/hr, accountants £150/hr. Physios inthe NHS cost over £200 for a first appointment and £150 for follow ups, so us charging £70-80/hr is an absolute bargain. they can go to hell. we dont need them.. if their market share is reducing, this is why.. they provide a rubbish service, pay late and are of no use.

  • Comment Link Roger Newman Turner Thursday, 12 July 2012 10:30 posted by Roger Newman Turner

    Firstly, thanks to those of you who are coordinating this campaign and set up the website. I sent my resignation letter to Bupa yesterday and pointed out, again, my reasons. (Previous quesions raised wth them merely elicited the same spiel from their terms and conditions)
    Unrealistic fees scale and 'prohibition' on topping up
    Billing to Bupa administratively cumbersome. All our insurance pts make their own claims for reimbursement with our receipts. (It is they who have the contract with Bupa, not me). Bupa will not permit this in future.
    Beyond their remit to try to tell us how to run our practices and what we may treat.
    The necessity for CRB clearance. That's the GOsC's job.
    Also told them I'm over 70 now but they did say that was OK if the regulator still considers I'm safe to practise!

  • Comment Link David Kellett Thursday, 12 July 2012 10:22 posted by David Kellett

    I had decided not to participate with BUPA already before getting your email etc. But if i had any doubts it was about being the "only one" not joining. It is good to know that there is some solidarity about this. I have only ever had a few patients who are paid for by BUPA and have always found BUPA to be slow payers and not to have informed patients very well about what they are going to pay - so there are often bits of "excess" that have to be chased up and this all makes the admin more onerous.

    Thank you for making this site and helping osteopaths to organise,


  • Comment Link stephen bailey Thursday, 12 July 2012 07:55 posted by stephen bailey

    hi mate, nice to see we can stand together. bupa make up a very small percentage of my work, and they are not dictating how i treat my patients, who if i'm not mistaken are our primary concern. i will be resigning on the 13th. I have contacted my patients who are insured through bupa and the are changing their insurer, what does that tell us. good luck and thanks
    steve b.

  • Comment Link Will WIlliams Thursday, 12 July 2012 05:25 posted by Will WIlliams

    I'm curious. This BUPA turnaround affects chiropractors as well as osteopaths, I'm wondering if either party has spoken to the other with reference to joining forces. I wonder how they're handling it?

  • Comment Link Alexander Hickman Thursday, 12 July 2012 02:08 posted by Alexander Hickman

    I have never joined BUPA, though was beginning to consider whether it was worth it recently! Now it's a no brainer! I shall be emailing them on Friday 13th to unite with a large majority of the reasons everyone has already stated! I chose this profession largely due to the autonomy and freedom that comes along with it, which BUPA don't seem to recognise or respect.

  • Comment Link Brian Lewis Wednesday, 11 July 2012 23:45 posted by Brian Lewis

    I have been a BUPA provider for the last 14 years, ever since they decided to recognise complimentary medicine on GP referral from 1st April 1998.

    I will not be joining their new network.

    BUPA should not be dictating to their members as to who they can and cannot see. Their members are entitled to choose their osteopath as they see fit.

    I certainly have no intention of allowing BUPA to dictate to me how I should run my practice.

    Having said this - am I the only osteopath who really doesn't care about BUPA? My practice does not depend on seeing BUPA members and, in fact, I believe that BUPA are struggling to maintain their share of the private health insurance market. Isn't this the most likely reason for their attempts to restrict fees? It certainly is not about providing the best service to their members.

  • Comment Link An osteo formerly registered with BUPA Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:17 posted by An osteo formerly registered with BUPA

    Well done for organizing this excellent campaign. Better to die on your feet than live on your knees!


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