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 Lisa Allwood Tuesday, 10 July 2012 18:16 posted by Lisa Allwood

    We are leaving BUPA after 10 years too. Letter to be posted tomorrow!

  • Comment Link Abigail Miller Tuesday, 10 July 2012 17:53 posted by Abigail Miller

    I too am withdrawing from BUPA after 10 years as a recognised provider. I too cannot agree to their terms and conditions.

  • Comment Link Phillip Tanswell Tuesday, 10 July 2012 17:47 posted by Phillip Tanswell

    Re Daryl's comment on the GOsC:
    It is not possible to agree to the BUPA terms and conditions whilst at the same time complying with the new GOsC Practice Standards.
    Specifically sections C1 and C2 (from memory; I'm in the pub!) cannot be met by following BUPA's treatment protocols. On that basis, as the regulator, GOsC should act to protect and defend their statutory function. BUPA as a private company has no role in adding a further layer of regulation which contradicts codes of practice already set by law.

  • Comment Link Bart Shonkser Tuesday, 10 July 2012 17:07 posted by Bart Shonkser

    They are paying physios in our area (Essex) 42.50 per 30 min follow up!!

  • Comment Link Mark Pitcairn-Knowles Tuesday, 10 July 2012 13:41 posted by Mark Pitcairn-Knowles

    Left my phone call to the last minute to see if the management had changed the call centre answers. Just had a 10 min chat, the answers to all my questions were exactly as expected. The management are simply lying!! I asked if the price structure is the same for rural Yorkshire as for central London, "Yes". I assume Osteopaths in Rural areas will be delighted with a pay rise as she said this is not a price cap but a countrywide rate. She was not able to give any helpful answers. It must be a terrible job.

    Osteopaths must stick together here, if this is allowed it will be a slippery slope.

  • Comment Link Daryl Herbert Tuesday, 10 July 2012 13:19 posted by Daryl Herbert

    Tomorrow is the last day to send your first class letter to Bupa opting out of their new network. You can send another letter even if you have done so already and please also email them on Friday 13 July too!
    If you have not been contacted or you have only been qualified for a short time, you can still voice your opinion!

    Everyone please contact Bupa this Friday 13th July to say No!

  • Comment Link jolyon livingston Tuesday, 10 July 2012 12:38 posted by jolyon livingston

    I am happy to reduce my fee for patients who are struggling financially, even to treat them for no fee on occasions. I am less enthusiastic reducing fees in order to increase the profits of a private health insurance company.

    Adhering to BUPA's time allocation for treatment and administration would result in an unacceptable drop in my standards.

  • Comment Link Daryl Herbert Tuesday, 10 July 2012 11:25 posted by Daryl Herbert

    Hi All, firstly thank you for all your comments and support for the website.
    Just some points: The GOsC is the Regulator of Osteopathy & the Osteopathic profession, it therefore has little or nothing to do with this current Bupa issue. Secondly the BOA have been and continue to work tirelessly for us in this Bupa matter. Please go to the BOA website news, please see the Bupa email sent out to all BOA members last week followed up by a text message to all BOA members yesterday.
    We really NOW need to UNITE together, ALL OSTEOPATHS, and show Bupa and other PHI's that we have a voice. That united voice will be heard Friday 13 July. Bupa have been lying to the BOA and to individuals all along and probably still are. They have informed many colleagues that 75% of the profession have signed up, I am not convinced. The petition numbers and opt out numbers are climbing but PLEASE we need more. Get patients and corporate groups involved. Pass on this web site to ALL colleagues, even if they have signed up they can still resign. Use the information on this site. We must help ourselves!

  • Comment Link Sian Greeves Tuesday, 10 July 2012 11:02 posted by Sian Greeves

    The main issue for me with BUPA is the way that they have consistently lied about who they've talked to, and what their position really is. I would like to see some robust comment from the GOsC and BOA bearing in mind BUPA claimed to have consulted with these bodies, yet did not. I also feel that to go with them is to give up yet more of the autonomy of our Profession. I have not re-registered.

  • Comment Link Paul. Tuesday, 10 July 2012 10:19 posted by Paul.

    I note the Bupa questionnaire is of a similar nature to the DoH AQP qualification for neck and back care in regard outcome and performance measures, clinical governance, health and safety etc.

    An osteopath who can fulfill the Bupa recognition scheme questionnaire would I think be able to be subcontracted under a Bupa umbrella to receive NHS patients if Bupa were running a PCT/CCG contract.

    The fixed fee of £40/30 may create a business case for Bupa to provide an NHS (AQP)osteopathic services for neck and back care in some areas of the country with a high enough tariff by using its network.

    Just a thought.

    I think with PMI/NHS funding and EBM if you wish to work in this sector capped fees, set treatment protocols/pathways and set levels of patient contacts are the way things are going.


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