St Anthony’s hospital has pulled out of the hospital list on BUPA’s LocalCare and Healthfund products. The hospital contacted its consultants and GPs to says that the premiums that BUPA is offering are not sufficient for the treatment the hospital provides.
However, it says that it is still willing to treat other BUPA patients. “Because of this situation it is better for us to withdraw from the Localcare and Healthfund network,” said Philip Cook, marketing manager at St. Anthony’s. “BUPA is a large provider and we are still working with it on other products.”
He added: “The result is that some patients are going to be deprived and will be treated in another hospital. The network premise was that it was a cost effective system. But eventually, it meant treating more patients for less total revenue.”
BUPA confirmed that St Anthony’s would no longer be treating BUPA members on the BUPA LocalCare and Local HospitalCare. “Having been part of BUPA’s Network of Partnership Hospitals for the past three years, St Anthony’s has decided to withdraw from the network,” said a BUPA spokesperson. “It has refused to participate in BUPA’s quality assurance process and is the only private hospital facility (NHS or private) in the UK to do so.”
This year has seen the closure of a number of independent hospitals, including the Bon Secours in Beaconsfield and Mannor House in London, through insufficient trade.
St Anthony’s hospital, which specialises in cardiology, performs 400 open heart operations a year and also has an eight-bed intensive care unit. The hospital’s director Brian Clarke is also chairman of the charitable hospital federation (CHF). This group has a membership totalling approximately 15 per cent of the independent hospital market.
“The more people who leave networks the better,” said John Randall, consultant to the CHF. “Networks are really short-termism, limiting the choice of both patients and doctors. Whichever network it is, nobody can afford to give 20 per cent discount to insurers. It is just not sustainable”
Randall confirmed that the CHF was not developing a strategy to organise independent hospitals to leave networks but said that the federation allowed hospitals to share information about the effects of networks.