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 mark andrews Wednesday, 11 July 2012 08:31 posted by mark andrews

    Well done on mobilising a notoriously difficult profession, we are historically very good at moaning but not at acting. It would be great to see more osteopaths involved but I am sure some just cannot afford to take this stance at the moment and we should understand that.

    I am leaving BUPA after 10 years and will be sending my letter of resignation today.

  • Comment Link Daryl Herbert Wednesday, 11 July 2012 08:14 posted by Daryl Herbert

    Save Osteopathy on Bupa, Mass Resignation Friday 13 July

    Go to: www.save-osteopathy-on-bupa.org

    Two days to go before the mass resignation! We now have over 10% of the osteopathic profession signed up to our petition, see web site and just under 10% choosing to Opt out of the new Bupa Osteopath/Chiropractor Network
    Lets get over that 10% barrier, it is not too late to post your letter opting out, by first class post today!
    Alternatively and as well as, email Bupa on Friday, 1pm (the 13th hour) on the 13th July has been suggested to hit the Bupa website hard. However anytime is fine!

    Lets all get together, be heard as one voice, one profession. Many osteopaths have sent positive emails and made comments on the website, COME ON lets support each other.

    Thank you for all your support

    Daryl Herbert

  • Comment Link anthony williams Wednesday, 11 July 2012 07:45 posted by anthony williams

    If this affects chiropractors as well as osteopaths have we not discussed a joint action?

  • Comment Link ADAM Wednesday, 11 July 2012 07:26 posted by ADAM

    Letter posted! Congratulations on setting up this this website. It's great to see the profession working together. BUPA today GOsC tomorow?

  • Comment Link Mark Pitcairn-Knowles Wednesday, 11 July 2012 07:12 posted by Mark Pitcairn-Knowles

    Apologies to Sebastian Contreras, prices sound about the same in Yorkshire as in Kent. I was trying to get confirmation from the person on the phone at BUPA that this was a national price and not a local price as the management appear to be saying. Time to post letter.

  • Comment Link Sebastian Contreras Wednesday, 11 July 2012 00:24 posted by Sebastian Contreras

    In reply to Mark Pitcairn-Knowles, even in rural yorkshire where I work the average fee is just under £37.

    It took me about an hour to contact all the clinics in North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire so that I could work out the areas average price structure. The average price is brought down by clinics who charge less (the lowest being £32) due to lower overheads (e.g no reception cover).

    It's not just the terms and conditions that are affecting osteopaths nationwide, the price structure is affecting osteopaths above the Watford Gap too!

  • Comment Link Simon Poulter Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:04 posted by Simon Poulter

    I had been considering joining bupa for many years but was never very keen on their modus operandi. The latest move by them has made me glad I am not involved. I don't believe that bupa would listen, let alone act on criticism from remaining members. A mass exodus however will hopefully show them they are wrong!

  • Comment Link Yvonne McCarthy Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:43 posted by Yvonne McCarthy

    18 years in practice, and how things have changed. I used to be proud to say to my patients that I was "BUPA approved". As a brand new graduate, it seemed to me to be giving validity to osteopathy as a profession, i.e. if BUPA recognise it then it must be good - they were after all the perceived 'Gold Standard' in healthcare at the time.

    I know this may sound strange to the 'youngsters' who have graduated since I did, but nearly 20 years ago so many people, even your own family, questioned why you would want to choose such an 'alternative' profession and comments such as "work harder and you can get into proper medical school" was considered good advice. So being recognised by BUPA I thought was great.

    So back to today. Unquestionably, I cannot consider registering with BUPA. Osteopathy has fought too hard for the right to be an autonomous, self-governing profession to be told by clerical pen-pushers how to be a clinician. So I will not be accepting another BUPA pay-cheque and shame on anybody who sells their birth-right for 30 pieces of silver.

    I would bet my clinical judgement over some clerical penpusher in deciding when is best for my patient

  • Comment Link Philip Godfrey Tuesday, 10 July 2012 19:02 posted by Philip Godfrey

    Letter ready to post tomorrow and will follow up with an email on friday. I have had more than enough of BUPA. I wrote to the CEO and they sent me a ridiculous reply.. They didn't have the courtesy to answer my questions.

  • Comment Link Simon Bacon Tuesday, 10 July 2012 18:56 posted by Simon Bacon

    Thank you for illuminating this issue and encouraging group participation in defending our position as osteopaths in addressing this dictatorial approach by BUPA to patient care and fees.
    I will be sending a letter.


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