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 Roger Giddings Wednesday, 04 July 2012 08:41 posted by Roger Giddings

    It is with no regrets at all that I also will be resigning from Bupa. The Clinic manager will heave a sigh of relief and I won't have to justify my treatments to an accountant. They mainly added to the image/illusion of the official acceptance of Osteopathy and subtracted from patient care programs.

  • Comment Link Steve Sandler Wednesday, 04 July 2012 07:22 posted by Steve Sandler

    I shall be resigning from the BUPA scheme after 20 + years on 13th July. My reasons are principally because I am against insurance companies dictating to the practitioner what they can or cannot do. They don't define osteopathy we do . If we accept the terms and conditions offered situation we lose the very autonomy that we fought so hard to achieve up to 1993 and the passage of the Osteopaths Act in parliament.

  • Comment Link Janet Prower Tuesday, 03 July 2012 23:24 posted by Janet Prower

    It is with regret that I will be resigning as a BUPA Recognised Provider after more than 20 years. I expect to give each patient individualised, holistic , osteopathic treatment which can't be done under the new terms and conditions laid down by BUPA. I is unacceptable to dictate treatment times, treatment protocols and to add hours of extra administration.

  • Comment Link Jon Leigh Tuesday, 03 July 2012 21:01 posted by Jon Leigh

    I too have resigned my BUPA registration. I have been providing osteopathic treatment to BUPA patients for over 25 years and sent my resignation letter to their CEO immediately I was told by BUPA that they were capping fees, insisting on minimum treatment times as well as their insistence on annual CRB checks and their other onerous conditions.

  • Comment Link Elizabeth Hayden Tuesday, 03 July 2012 18:26 posted by Elizabeth Hayden

    Clive and I have already written to BUPA telling them that after over 20 years of providing care for BUPA patients, we cannot agree to their terms and conditions and therefore resign. We will resend this letter on 13th July

  • Comment Link Daryl Herbert Tuesday, 03 July 2012 16:02 posted by Daryl Herbert

    It is with regret that I will be opting out of the new Bupa Network for Osteopaths and will be resigning my registration option on the 13th July. I have been working as a Bupa recognised provider for almost twenty years and unfortunately the new terms and conditions affect my autonomy and the way I work and care for my patients as an osteopath

  • Comment Link Gareth Butler Tuesday, 03 July 2012 12:43 posted by Gareth Butler

    I will, sadly, be resigning on 13th having being a Bupa Recognised Provider for over 20 years. The principal reason for this is that I will not be able to offer individualised care to my insured patients under the new terms & conditions. Bupa dictating the treatment I am to give patients means that I will be prevented from giving them the care I know they need. I am not a technician – I am an osteopath.


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