Alderbank Physiotherapy Clinic is to cease its BUPA  Physiotheray network status as of 17th May 2021.

Treatments of BUPA clients currently being undertaken at the clinic will be covered up to and including the 17th of July 2021. BUPA clients may still of course use the clinic but will have to pay for treatments themselves and then claim their fees back from BUPA. This is subject to their own policy terms and conditions.

Why is this happening ? Well here is a little bit of background to the whole situation.

If we go back 2 or 3 years, BUPA in their wisdom, set a base line figure to all clinic contracts, on the number of BUPA clients they expected each clinic to see in each calendar year. Why this should have any relevance to clients being able to choose the registered clinic of their choice is not fully clear. So imagine our surprise when we received an email from BUPA stating:

” We’re sorry to hear you’ve decided not to renew your membership with the BUPA physiotherapy network”…..”This means we will no longer include you in our list of BUPA physiotherapy practices and we’ll be unable to pre-authorise treatment at your clinic”.

NOT TRUE! …..Alderbank physiotherapy clinic never wanted to, or intended to leave the BUPA network but have been forced to leave and not be allowed to renew under BUPA’s current policy of insisting a practice, whether they are a large multi centre organisation or a small family business, has to see a set number of patients throughout the year. These targets do not take into consideration the clinics catchment area or the population demographics of its clientele. It is also not surprising that BUPA have chosen to take this action after a period when most smaller practices have been forced to close and had vastly reduced numbers of clients over the threshold over the past 18 months.

However, BUPA claim that…..” The decision is not a reflection on quality of care you offer. it’s simply a business decision BUPA have made, so we ensure we have a more focused network”. and….” On this occasion, we are not able to overturn the decision.”

So much for “Patient choice” BUPA……. It sounds more like they are aiming to have a select few providers who they can manipulate more easily on price and numbers of treatments allowed by their clients , despite the exorbitant fees those clients already pay for the services received. This appears to be a national drive and has effected many clinics like ours across the UK, who have not already chosen to leave the BUPA network due to them constantly driving down fees paid to clinics and expecting more administrative duties in return.

If any BUPA clients do wish to complain to them that they are being covertly denied access to the clinic of their choice then you can contact the complaints department at BUPA and ask to speak directly to Deborah Dickerson, the clinic contracting manager.

Meanwhile…..Our clinic continues to provide an excellent service to our clients as can be seen by our recent performance with our “ Data for Impact (DFI)survey, which looks at many parameters which matter most to our patients, namely;

  • Waiting times.
  • Change in functional physical and subjective scores pre/post treatment.
  • Number of treatments per episode of care.
  • Goals achieved.
  • Outcome of referral.

The Data for impact study is run independently by the University of Brighton and compares quality of service of all registered private clinics across the country and shares these results with our private practice regulatory bodyPhysiofirst“. This information is then available for all private healthcare providers to access should they wish to do so. An excellent way we believe, of truly evaluating the quality of care our clients receive.

Alderbank clinics physiotherapy services “Out perform” the national average on a consistent and regular basis which has gained us the award ofQuality Assured Practice Status !”( QAP’s). I am proud to say that all of our associates are now QAP’s. For more information about our DFI performance please refer to the forth coming posts. This information gathered by the University of Brighton is far more detailed than any of the pervious  rather sparse BUPA outcome audits that have been performed.

Alderbank Physiotherapy clinic sees 4000 patients on average every year, of which 90% are self pay patients. The remaining 10% are a mixture of PHI and Occupational health company referrals, of which only 1.7% are BUPA referrals. Approximately 60% of our clients are “returners” to the clinic compared to the national average of 30%, which we feel speaks volumes for the quality of service that is provided by our clinic. The BUPA decision is therefore only going to damage their reputation and their clients choice of quality venues rather than our bottom line.

 Despite having to jump through all of the contractual hoops that BUPA have expected over the past 18 years and delivering excellent service provision to them, this is how they reward us and many similar clinics around the country. Well goodbye BUPA and I hope that many of your clients begin to vote with their feet and start to move over to the hundreds of other providers of PHI that continue to use and support smaller clinics based on their quality rather than the numbers of their patients that they see.

Apologies to those who feel they have just read a rant, but I felt strongly that this had to be said and explained from our perspective, rather than clients just being rudely told by a call operator somewhere in the world that they can no longer use our clinic, without providing even a shred of back ground information as to why.

Lee Barker

Physiotherapist and Clinic Director