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Company limited by guarantee
Industry Healthcare
Founded 1947
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
Stuart Fletcher, CEO
Products health insurance, care homes, health at work services, hospitals, dental clinics, health assessments
Revenue Increase £9.8 billion GBP (2014)
Increase £637.8 million GBP (2014)
Number of employees
80,000 (2015)
Website www.bupa.com

Bupa (pronounced /buːpə/) is an international healthcare group, serving 29 million customers in over 190 countries. It is a private healthcare company, as opposed to the UK's National Health Service (NHS), which is a tax-funded healthcare system.


Bupa (originally, the British United Provident Association) was established in 1947 when 17 British provident associations joined together to provide healthcare for the general public. The original services offered by Bupa included private medical insurance, and eventually expanded to include privately run Bupa hospitals.

It was founded before the advent of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1947 as a provident organisation. Initially, it was purely a UK health insurance provider, offering policies to individuals, companies and other organisations.

Bupa Ireland was set up in 1996 and eventually had 300 employees in Fermoy, Co Cork and 475,000 members – a 22% share of the Irish market. In 2006 it announced its intention to close in response to the Irish Government's policy of risk equalisation.[1] In 2007 the business was bought by the Quinn Group and traded as Quinn Healthcare.[2] Since 2012 it has been trading as Laya Healthcare.[3]

In 2007, the company announced plans to sell its UK hospitals to Spire Healthcare.[4]

During 2008, the firm acquired the London-based Cromwell Hospital flagship hospital to provide healthcare to its members and other private patients including medical tourists from outside the UK. Approval was given for the merger between Bupa's Australian arm (which, prior to the merger, comprised HBA and Mutual Community) and insurance group MBF.[5] The merger created Australia's second largest private health insurance group. On 1 December 2008, Clinovia's name was changed to Bupa Home Healthcare.[6]

In October 2010 the firm sold Bupa Health Assurance to Resolution Limited, and it has been rebranded as part of Friends Life.[7]

In the end of 2012 Bupa acquired largest private healthcare network in Poland – Lux Med for €400m from private equity fund Mid Europa Partners.[8]

Over the years, it has diversified away from its core health insurance business and is now an international healthcare company with services that include travel insurance, health insurance, care homes, health assessments, occupational health services and hospitals. The firm is a private company limited by guarantee; it has no shareholders, and any profits (after tax) are reinvested in the business. Since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 came into force in April 2013 Bupa has won the single highest-value contract – a £235m deal to provide musculoskeletal services in West Sussex jointly with Central Surrey Health in November 2014.[9]

In February 2015 Bupa acquired a controlling share in Chilean private healthcare network Cruz Blanca, which has a 21% share in the local market. [10]


The company has its head office in central London, with main UK contact centres in Staines and Salford Quays. There are also offices in Brighton (Bupa International), Leeds (Bupa Care Services), and Harlow (Bupa Home Healthcare) in the UK, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia (Bupa Australia and Bupa Aged Care Australia), New Delhi (Max Bupa), Madrid (Sanitas), Boston (Health Dialog), Beijing (Bupa China), Hong Kong (Bupa Asia), Jeddah (Bupa Arabia), Bangkok (Bupa Thailand), and Miami (Bupa Latin America).

Bupa (Sanitas) offices in Madrid (Spain).

The firm also owns several healthcare companies overseas including Spain's largest healthcare company, Sanitas, and acquired ihi Danmark and Amedex (Miami, US) in September 2005. In November 2006, it acquired Clinovia, now known as Bupa Home Healthcare, in a move that gave Bupa new opportunities in out of hospital care. In December 2007, it purchased DCA Agedcare Group in Australia and New Zealand, making it a leading player in these markets. Also in December 2007, it announced the purchase of Health Dialog,[11] a provider of chronic condition management and "shared decision making" services.

The firm has entered the Indian health insurance market through a joint venture with the local conglomerate, Max India, called Max Bupa Health Insurance Limited.[12]

According to Stuart Fletcher in 2013 'there was a 6 per cent decline in the number of individuals covered’ by private health insurance, ‘and the people who are more likely to claim are the least likely to drop the insurance, so the risk pool is deteriorating.’ Bupa has protected its profits by reducing payments to consultants. This provoked the British Medical Association to complain to the Competition Commission, which published a report into the private healthcare sector in 2013, probing insurers’ power over consultants’ fees. It decided that by trying to keep prices down and promote competition, Bupa was doing "exactly what customers would expect". But it did warn that companies like Bupa need to ensure they communicate better with policyholders about what their premiums entitle them to.[13]


  1. ^ "BUPA to withdraw from Irish market". RTE.ie. 14 December 2006. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  2. ^ MJ Flood Technology. "Aventas Group - Welcome to Aventas Group". quinn-group.com. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Our story, our people :: Laya Healthcare Ireland". layahealthcare.ie. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  4. ^ BUPA sells hospitals to private equity firm - Guardian UK
  5. ^ MBF-Bupa merger gets court go ahead - Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  6. ^ Bupa Home Healthcare website
  7. ^ Bupa insurance operation snapped up by Resolution - Financial Times
  8. ^ "Mid Europa Completes the Sale of LUX MED to Bupa". Mid Europa. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "Private firms on course to net £9bn of NHS contracts". Guardian. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Grupo inglés Bupa Sanitas negocia compra de Cruz Blanca y pagará alto premio por acción". LaSegunda.com. Retrieved 16 November 2015. 
  11. ^ Health Dialog sold in $775M deal - Boston Business Journal
  12. ^ Max India Press Release New Delhi, 11 July 2008.
  13. ^ "CITY INTERVIEW: Boss Stuart Fletcher fighting the flab at Bupa". This is Money. 1 January 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014.