As of Oct 1 2012, I am sadly no longer able to accept BUPA payment for treatment.
I was a BUPA provider for over 14 years. They always paid my full consultation fee (currently £52 for adults) and treatment fee (£42 for adults). Having checked, my fees are average for this area. BUPA’s own musculoskeletal centre in London charges considerably more than this for osteopathic treatment
BUPA’s own practice previously was to set a maximum amount per year in a member’s insurance policy for osteopathic treatment to be used for one or more acute episodes. Once your “pot” is used up, you can then choose to pay for additional treatment yourself privately.
BUPA then imposed fee limits which apply to all Osteopaths across the UK, regardless of location, paying a set low consultation and treatment fee (well below the average for this and surrounding areas). They will not allow us to reclaim the rest of our fee from our patients.
BUPA does not operate a level playing field in this regard, as it allows patients to pay the difference for a Consultant who charges more than BUPA’s fee, but not for osteopaths. This has considerably reduced the choice patients now have locally, as only some of us have chosen to register.
As a result of this fee capping policy and BUPA also attempting to confine how I treat my patients to a seemingly ‘prescriptive’ type of “care pathway”, I chose not to register on the new BUPA Osteopathy Network.
BUPA has now designated me as a “non-approved” provider, despite the fact that I have chosen to opt out. As BUPA knows, labels such as “approved” or “non-approved” have many connotations in the context of medical care, the most obvious of which relates to clinical competence and / or reputation.
If new / existing patients are told that certain of us are “non-approved” providers, you may form the impression that, in some sense, we have fallen below approved clinical standards, rather than simply being unwilling to perform services for the rates decided by BUPA or being unwilling to agree to the conditions they are trying to impose on how we practice osteopathy.
If you call BUPA, they will tell you that I am “not recognised” and will give you the number of a BUPA registered local practitioner.
I am sad to have had opt out. I have been practising for over 23 years as an osteopath and have done many hours of courses and professional development to improve my ability to support patients in getting well. I use Laser Therapy, diet and lifestyle advice and prescribe exercises to support the holistic osteopathic approach I use.
Osteopaths treat people, not ‘conditions’ – one person’s bad back is not the same as another – effective treatment and exercises often differ for similarly presenting conditions as the reason why patients have certain symptoms is usually different, as is their history, lifestyle and current circumstances.
If you wish to attend for treatment but cannot afford to pay my full fee, please do call me in confidence.