Memorandum by BUPA (PSR 25)
Statement of intent
BUPA staff are dedicated to the provision of
high quality treatment and care. BUPA wishes to contribute to
the delivery of NHS services and believes that its staff provide
the quality of service and dedication that patients, whether NHS
or private, deserve.
BUPA is a provident association. To ensure growth,
and increase levels of reinvestment, it needs to make a return
on services provided. All returns are reinvested into better health
and care services. Currently, BUPA owns 235 care homes and 36
hospitals in the UK. Over the last two years BUPA has invested
over £50 million in care services and hospitals.
The caring ethos
BUPA treats all its patients and residents with
equal care and respect, whether publicly funded (for example in
our hospitals through the Concordat or in our care homes by the
local authority) or privately funded, through insurance or self-pay.
The ethic of public service is, as Alan Milburn
has described it, essentially to contribute to serving the public
regardless of wealth or worth. BUPA has been doing this for a
number of years in the publicly funded work undertaken by its
care homes and hospitals.
The majority of residents in BUPA care homes
receive funding from local authorities. All residents are treated
with the same care and dignity, irrespective of funding source.
Similarly, when a patient arrives at a BUPA
Hospital they are immediately treated as a patient, not as a "Concordat"
patient, a "self funding" patient or an "insurance
patient". Care and treatment is administered according to
Having a service ethos is not unique to the
public sector. BUPA's vision is "Taking Care of the Lives
in our Hands". This is a simple human expression of the dedication
of our staff, and our corporate commitment to our patients and
staff. A further commercial dimension also underpins our focus
on the delivery of quality care. If a private company fails to
provide the service its customers want it will not thrive.
Caring for our patients
Patient care is top of BUPA's list of priorities.
One only needs to look at the provision of care
services to see how both the public and private sectors can work
together to serve the interests of two of the most disadvantaged
groups in our societythe elderly and mentally infirm.
BUPA care homes operate on a commercial basis
and like other BUPA businesses, BUPA Care Service aims to make
a return on the services provided and the investments made. All
surpluses made are reinvested into providing more and better health
and care. Approximately 65 per cent of our residents receive support
from their local authority to pay for their stay. Indeed, BUPA
Care Services has even entered into agreements with local authorities
such as Powys to manage their care homes on their behalf. The
staff caring for our 16,000 residents care as much for their wards
as those people who work for a publicly owned care home.
All organisations need to make a surplus (or
profit) if they are to invest and innovate. BUPA aims to make
surpluses on its business activities on a scale that allows it
to continue to keep pace with changes in demography, epidemiology,
technology, real prices and consumer expectations. However, as
our work with local authorities and NHS organisations demonstrates,
this is not mutually exclusive to having a public service ethos.
In actual fact, it has acted to stimulate value-for-money and
quality in the public services we provide. This results in better
service to patients, local authorities and NHS organisations alike.
Caring for our staff
BUPA offers competitive salaries, flexible working
conditions, and attractive benefits packages. For example, BUPA
Hospitals employees are eligible for:
corporate or stakeholder pension
insurance and regular health assessments
25 days holiday, increasing to 27
days (plus bank holidays)
In our care homes, flexible working times allow
those people who want or need to work part time (for example single
mothers and the elderly) the ability to chose hours that suit
Providing for our staff in this way has benefits
for the patients and residents they care for because it can enable
them to care for patients without being distracted by poor work
conditions. Our staff, particularly our doctors and nurses would
be deeply offended by any suggestion that they care less for their
patients because they work in a profit-orientated organisation.
Caring for the future
The current structure of the UK health system
precludes independent providers from playing a widespread role
in the health economy. In contrast, in some European countries,
for example in Germany and France, independent providers play
a more integrated role in the provision of health and care.
The Institute for Health Economics and Policy
(IHEP) found that in Germany, there was no institutional difference
between public and private hospitals participating in state hospital
programmes with respect to the provision of public subsidies and
contracts. In other words, independent hospitals when operating
public contracts are treated in the same way as public hospitals.
Patients are cared for irrespective of funding method.
In the case of France, profit-making hospitals
are mainly established by small corporations, and they tend to
specialise in fields such as surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology.
No difference was found in the system between profit-making and
non-profit hospitals with respect to medical fees and medical
It is clear from this research that it is possible
for the health economy to make use of independent sector hospitals
without loosing a "public service ethic" and benefit
from the experience, management and specialisation of independent
There are differences between public and private
sector organisations. There are also differences between people
working within each sector. The public sector is not unique in
having people who work for their love of caring. The private sector
is not unique in having people that want a job that offers other,
more personal, advantages.
What is important is that care of the highest
quality is given to those who need it. Whether as funders or providers,
both the public and private sectors can work together towards