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 Simeon Niel-Asher Thursday, 05 July 2012 12:34 posted by Simeon Niel-Asher

    After 14 years of BUPA recognition Intoo am joining the mass resignation. What a shame they treat osteopathy with such little regard. Think of what we have saved over the years. It's shameless!

  • Comment Link  nacnud Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:36 posted by nacnud

    Hi, I thinks its both a shame plus a right royal pain in the glutes!
    My Bupa patients are not impressed at all with the changes and the fact they will have to pay me outside of their Bupa scheme if they want to see me in the future.
    I think Bupa needs to consider loss of revenue for themselves with this new scheme. We should be considered an asset to their policies.
    The whole thing also makes me feel like BUPA does not recognise the GOC and its professional control over us.

  • Comment Link Louise cooke Thursday, 05 July 2012 09:54 posted by Louise cooke

    Just got of the phone from BUPA. Lady in call centre said they were going to pay all Osteopaths the same rates. I told her she wouldn't have a single Osteopath within the M25!
    I've just resigned from BUPA. Let's send them a message: Osteopathy is worth more.
    Will be writing to them for 13th July.

  • Comment Link Mj Thursday, 05 July 2012 06:02 posted by Mj

    BUPA know that Osteopath are an easy target. For any poor or overly expensive treatments offered by a few Osteopaths, they will argue that draconian rules are the best way to prevent this from occurring in the future.

    Rather than recognize the tremendous efforts by the Osteopathic profession itself to self regulate and promote a level of care and ethical standards that already limits the abilities of Osteopaths to pursue such a path. As it stands, such a practice would already be easily controlled by more communication with the Osteopathic profession as ultimately the profession decides those that are fit to continue to use the title, Osteopath.

    Instead they choose to penalize honest Osteopaths who will follow such procedures and instead, the enforce bureaucracy will simply create anguish for both patient and practitioner who have to both be put on trail as to how much trust the name Osteopath carries with BUPA.

    Yet paradoxically, the level of trust not given to Osteopaths is given carte blanche to companies that put a far greater strain and cost on both BUPA and its patients.

    As example GSK, one of the world's largest healthcare and pharmaceuticals companies, admitted to promoting antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses, including treatment of children and adolescents.

    The illegal practice is known as off-label marketing.

    The company also conceded charges that it held back data and made unsupported safety claims over its diabetes drug Avandia.

    It agreed to resolve civil liability for promoting asthma drug Advair and two lesser-known drugs for unapproved uses.

    In addition, GSK has been found guilty of paying kickbacks to doctors.

    "The sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high-priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations [and] paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours, to tickets to Madonna concerts," said US attorney Carmin Ortiz.
    As part of the settlement, GSK agreed to be monitored by government officials for five years.

    This scale of grand fraud is something that could never occur in Osteopathy, and we would be foolish to think does not still occur, yet will BUPA risk the wraith of multinational companies or systems that promote money over health? Or will they stamp down on a profession which puts patients first?

    Now will BUPA put patients first?

    As this smacks of aiming to appeal to shareholders. Yet, is it really saving anything for either BUPA or the patient.
    The extra bureaucratic costs on both therapist and practitioner will have to be met somewhere. When you have a demand for something, increasing bureaucracy can often have the opposite effect. (GOSC take note)

    Having a level of distrust to the point of interference simply means that either the patient or therapist will come to more creative means to get around such draconian measures and thus making the distrust a self fulfilling prophecy. Or that the enforced legislation is knowingly created, even though everyone can see it will be impossible, just it is a card they can pull out to justify any behavior to refuse insurance claims.

    An example being terms and conditions. How many of you have REALLY read the terms and conditions on iTunes store fully? And how many disagree with all of it, but click on I agree anyway? This is human nature when faced with overwhelming irrational bureaucracy, but are all those that do click without really reading being unethical, disingenuous or naive?

    It is also the same problem faced with piracy, rather than simply tell people piracy is on par with street robbery and mugging. It fails to understand why people resort to piracy in the first place. What makes a 13 year old girl resort to downloading her favorite song on the internet. Is it because they are hardened criminals, or is it simply human nature for what is easier. No one wants viruses or potentially legal action, but simplicity overrides complication.

    Apple found this with Itunes, its success was based on an efficient simple ecosystem. The majority of people I would argue do not take to piracy to avoid paying, of course there are exceptions, as that will always be the case. People though are generally simple and are prefer simplicity and fairness.

    Yet in BUPA's case they criminalize both the patient and the therapist. Promote a guilty till proven innocent through documentation approach, and somehow expect that this adds customer perceived value?

    I would argue it is more likely it will do the opposite and create either more creative approaches around such measures, or simply displace the demand to be supplied by less effective and ultimately just as costly procedures. As example, increased use of medication, increased use of existing and allowable modalities, increased use of surgery to conditions and increased use of post rehab. As people aim to make the most of their insurance.

    So lets see how BUPA really views its customers.

  • Comment Link Marcus Davis Wednesday, 04 July 2012 22:57 posted by Marcus Davis

    I have already resigned from BUPA, it was a difficult choice but the right decision. I waited 5 years for registration. Got less cover in the end than an equivalent physiotherapist. Are we worth less? I don't think so and neither do my patients. The terms and conditions are unrealistic and I am sure even the osteopaths that are too scared to de-register now, will in the future. BUPA is flexing its muscles and expecting us to accept their cover conditions to pay less than our standard prices, I couldn't afford to accept their supposed prices of £40.00 and £30.00 in central London, have you seen what rents are in central london!!! Get real BUPA thats 50% of my standard charge. Now I know how dairy farmers feel when they are offered less for their milk than it cost them to produce. By the way have you checked out BUPA's own centres prices at £84.00/72.00 initial consult and follow up £59.00/45.00 and these are the cheapest they offer!!!!! Lots of my patients are really annoyed by the new rules and I won't be recommending BUPA to any future patients either as I think they are treating us appallingly.

  • Comment Link Sajid Butt Wednesday, 04 July 2012 22:12 posted by Sajid Butt

    My well wishes are with my Osteopath friends.

  • Comment Link Robert Shanks Wednesday, 04 July 2012 20:00 posted by Robert Shanks

    Unnecessary extra admin, dictatorial care protocols imposed without BUPA actually seeing the patient in for of them, capped fees without the option for the patient to top up. No consultation process with their premium payers. All for £30 per follow up treatment, despite the BUPA physio contracts in my area are paying £42.50 per follow up. No scope for higher fees in central London despite BUPA charging the public £59 per follow up at their own centre in Docklands. BUPA have gone too far!! I cannot afford to run a busy practice, employ rceptionists, keep my knowledge and skills up to date by attending post graduate courses for £30 a session. The is no question that BUPA are attempting to devalue the profession,. They do not actually care about providing the best quality care to their patients, they are simply trying to tick boxes and recruit osteopaths per geographical area as cheaply as possibly. The worst thing of all is that the public are set to suffer as a result. I shall not be signing up to the contract in its present form.

  • Comment Link Neil Mellerick Wednesday, 04 July 2012 19:16 posted by Neil Mellerick

    I've already sent my refusal to participate in this network for all the reasons stated, plus my opinion that this discriminates against our majority of self funding patients.

    I've tweeted a link to this site https://twitter.com/NeilMell/statuses/220595633768247296 ; perhaps other twitter users could retweet it

  • Comment Link Peter Simpson Wednesday, 04 July 2012 18:36 posted by Peter Simpson

    I too have withdrawn from the scheme because I want to treat my patients as individuals. Osteopathy is not about coded therapy and to work this way is against my beliefs. We are already regulated by the GOsC and we don't need another regulating body.

  • Comment Link Helena Greenwood Wednesday, 04 July 2012 18:02 posted by Helena Greenwood

    BUPA and I couldn't reach agreement over fees so I have effectively de-registered myself by declining to accept what they offered on the telephone.. but I shall be writing to them to explain the reasons that I still wouldn't accept,even if they paid me!


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