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 Sam Kankanamge Wednesday, 04 July 2012 16:56 posted by Sam Kankanamge

    I will be sending a letter of resignation to reach Bupa by 13 of July .
    This is about future of our prfession and we should all get behind .
    Thank you to Gareth and his collueauges taking the intitive .

  • Comment Link Robin Kiashek Wednesday, 04 July 2012 16:05 posted by Robin Kiashek

    I have also resigned from BUPA after 15 years. I have in addition cancelled my own private health insurance with BUPA.

  • Comment Link Raoul Altina Wednesday, 04 July 2012 14:45 posted by Raoul Altina

    Some of our colleagues have put a good deal of work and effort organising this campaign. What the rest of us can do is to ensure that every osteopath in the land and our BUPA patients hear about it. The chance of success will depend on numbers.
    Lets set the target of contacting at least 10 colleagues each and in no time we will have covered the whole profession.

  • Comment Link Phil Parry Wednesday, 04 July 2012 14:22 posted by Phil Parry

    I have already resigned

  • Comment Link Phillip Tanswell Wednesday, 04 July 2012 13:03 posted by Phillip Tanswell

    I agree with all above and shall be resigning from BUPA (after more than 20 years).
    I have to say that they were the last private health provider to recognise us and always made things awkward. I don`t think they have ever wanted or understood us. I shall be well rid of the hassle!

  • Comment Link Andrew Oliver Wednesday, 04 July 2012 13:01 posted by Andrew Oliver

    I have also rejected Bupa's egregious offer. I was bemused and very dissapointed to learn that Bupa was restricting patient access and practitioner autonomy on osteopathic healthcare! Especially when in their own publicity material they say, "At Bupa, healthcare is our only focus. Our health insurance is centred on your needs from the very start". Either I've misunderstood their agenda or they've changed their patient centred policy!

  • Comment Link Sebastian Contreras Wednesday, 04 July 2012 12:34 posted by Sebastian Contreras

    I will also be rejecting BUPA's 'kind offer' and send a letter to their management team for 13th July and I hope that an overwhelming majority of osteopaths do the same. I hope that by doing so will encourage BUPA to reconsider their approach, review our profession thoroughly and understand what it is we do and what value osteopaths add to a persons health and well-being.

  • Comment Link Andrew Cotton Wednesday, 04 July 2012 11:32 posted by Andrew Cotton

    Like many others we feel that the conditions imposed by Bupa represent an unacceptable change in the nature of the patient practitioner relationship. Osteopaths will effectively work for Bupa as their bonded agents, using only Bupa approved approaches etc. Alternative and complementary medicine is successful partly because it looks at the individual, and applies a unique solution. A bureaucratic "one size fits all" policy will not serve Bupa's clients, and misunderstands the therapies they so proudly present as available to their clients. We have already withdrawn from the new scheme.

  • Comment Link Laura Godfrey Wednesday, 04 July 2012 10:32 posted by Laura Godfrey

    My husband and I are both Osteopaths and have been BUPA providers for about 15 years. We have already contacted BUPA and told them we will definitely not sign their new terms. We will write again so a letter arrives on 13th July as well as emailing them. We would urge Osteopaths to email as well as sending a hard copy..... the more they get bombarded the better. If we make enough noise, perhaps other insurers will think twice before trying this as well?

  • Comment Link Steven Butcher Wednesday, 04 July 2012 09:18 posted by Steven Butcher

    After 15 years of providing BUPA patients with treatment I find myself unable to accept their new terms and I will be resigning. I hope as a profession we can all stand together and make our voice heard.


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