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24 May 2009

Bupa Accused Of Bullying Tactics Over Physiotherapist's Fees Which Will Restrict Patient Choice

08 May 2009 - 1:00 PDT

Bupa has set in motion a campaign to lower the fees that physios charge their members, and to reduce the number of approved providers, which will decimate the industry and restrict patient choice.

Physios should have the commercial autonomy to set their own fees and to request that their patients settle their accounts following treatment.

Bupa are trying to reduce the number of Physios holding approved provider status from the current number of 13,000 practitioners to 1000, thereby severely restricting patient choice.

Facing an outlook of rising costs and falling revenue, Bupa is exercising its considerable corporate muscle to coerce Physiotherapists, in private practices all over the country, into absorbing core cost-bearing functions. Bupa has admitted using its dominant market position to force local Physiotherapists to take over the major share of its claims processing in an effort to transfer costs and increase its own margins.

Bupa originally stated in discussions with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and the Private Practitioners Association (Physio First) in October 2008 that it wanted to cull the number of physios it recognized to treat its members from 13,000 to 1000. Bupa have since retreated from this position in discussions with the CSP but not before they had caused widespread panic in the industry. Private physiotherapy is largely made up of sole practitioners or small businesses. In the current economic climate, the threat of losing a significant proportion of income is of grave concern to physiotherapists.

Bupa's attempt to try and impose onerous, one sided, contracts on vulnerable practitioners will inevitably disenfranchise patients. The tough contractual terms being proposed will require a substantial increase in time spent on unproductive, unpaid administration on Bupa's behalf. The result will be less time spent with the patient and a significant deterioration in the personal bond between patient and Physiotherapist that is essential to speedy recovery.

Physiotherapy London

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