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 Michelotti Alain Thursday, 05 July 2012 21:27 posted by Michelotti Alain

    A few years ago, I was contacted by Bupa to know if I wanted to join their physiotherapy network. I declined and I have just done the same, again, regarding their offer to join their chiropractic network. I have no idea how many of my chiropractic colleagues have accepted/refused to join the network but I want to congratulate the osteopathic profession for its well organised protest.

  • Comment Link Emma Roussac-Evans Thursday, 05 July 2012 21:21 posted by Emma Roussac-Evans

    Way too many things I'm not happy about to risk staying as a provider for BUPA.
    Mainly a lack of autonomy for practitioners and patients alike, and the wider potential of where this could lead. And they also demonstrate a clear misunderstanding of how osteopathy works. Let's stop it in its tracks NOW!!
    Glad to have some chiros on board as well.... spread the word as it will affect us all in the long run.

  • Comment Link Brian Jennings Thursday, 05 July 2012 17:14 posted by Brian Jennings

    I have never registered with Bupa.
    I am still going to e-mail Bupa on the 13th to tell them exactly what I think of their terms and conditions. We need patients on our side, so please spread this on facebook, twitter, linkedin and the windows of Bupa head office

  • Comment Link Anne French Thursday, 05 July 2012 16:32 posted by Anne French

    Hi People - I am a Chiropractor (no stones please) and I agree very strongly with what you are all saying. I will be sending my letter of resignation on the same day as you all, as the chiro forces that be, have not organised anything. Hopefully other chiro's will do the same.

    I will pass on this info to the osteo I work with and hope that he will act also.

    Thank you for organising this.

  • Comment Link Katie Banfield Thursday, 05 July 2012 15:04 posted by Katie Banfield

    How dare BUPA be so heavy handed. I hadn't realised that the fees would be capped to £30 follow up, not a reflection of our accountability, 4-5 years full time training and compulsary registration with CPD. Afterall, BUPA is a commercial company, not a medical registrant. totally agree with cost of running a practice in some areas very high and unrealistic not to be able to get patient to top up. We need to contact companies that provide BUPA as a "perk" to their employees and let them know what is happening too, after all they are not the only insurance company around. I have been told that the BMA took a firm stand with them too, when BUPA tried to dictate terms and when they threatened to withdraw BUPA provision, BUPA had to back down. I shall be writing in to them this month. Thanks for setting this rolling

  • Comment Link Mike Griffiths Thursday, 05 July 2012 15:02 posted by Mike Griffiths

    Hi all, BOA suggested to me that I ring the provider management team and ask them to escalate a complaint, as it appears this section is doing things differently to what Bupa Healthcare believe - ie the capping of fees which they deny!

  • Comment Link Robert Shanks Thursday, 05 July 2012 14:55 posted by Robert Shanks

    ...I mean the other year (not the other day!) - Tried this on Opthalmologists the other year!

  • Comment Link Robert Shanks Thursday, 05 July 2012 14:32 posted by Robert Shanks

    Some high profile names in the profession resigning, what a shame! BUPA should prepare themselves for rising costs spent on injections and surgery! If all the osteopaths stick together and refuse the current terms, at least in a particular region, then BUPA will be forced to back down as they did when they tried this on the Opthalmologists the other day. A little appreciated side issue to all this is that for years BUPA and some other insurers have classed osteopathy as "complimentary" and therefore will often not allow policy holders as much spend on osteopathy as they do for physiotherapy. A common policy is to allow £500 to physio but only £250 for osteopathy. The profession and public should hold out for this to be changed too! Physio friends & colleagues I know are right behind us on this issue!

  • Comment Link Samantha Craig-Wood Thursday, 05 July 2012 14:16 posted by Samantha Craig-Wood

    I too will be resigning on the 13th, after 11 years of being a Bupa Recognised Provider. I am not willing to have Bupa dictate the treatment that my patients will receive. How can I treat my patients to the best of my osteopathic ability with the T & C's that Bupa have set out? Local medical consultants are having their clinical decisions questioned by under-qualified staff at Bupa, which could have significant impact upon their patients. Does this company seriously have it's patients' best interests at the core of their business. I think not! Well done to our osteopathic colleagues for getting the ball rolling on this, now let's all get behind it!

  • Comment Link Mark Pitcairn-Knowles Thursday, 05 July 2012 12:47 posted by Mark Pitcairn-Knowles

    Having just read the e-mail from the BOA it confirms what has been apparent. Discrepencies throughout the process. We entered into it with goodwill, but the initial documents were so misleading or deliberately lying.
    I have always appreciated that PMI is for unexpected events not for ongoing treatments and have advised accordingly. Unfortunately BUPA have decided to take the view that we are their enemy rather than the ally that we "have" been in providing an efficient service for their customers.
    I will be resigning on the 13th.
    We need everyone in the southeast to follow this line to be effective.


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