Referrals

Referrals

Here are the referrals Bupa would accept, listed alphabetically

The following rules apply whether the referring healthcare provider is acting under the NHS or privately.

A&E NHS consultants and nurses can provide referrals for onward diagnosis or treatment, if the patient’s condition is stable.

Please be aware, if you require urgent care and/or an emergency admission you should go direct to an NHS A&E, which is staffed 24 hours and can manage any medical emergency. Please note, that Bupa doesn’t fund any direct admission into critical care or intensive care units.


An audiologist can refer to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist or an Audio vestibular medicine consultant.

Please note, we’ll only fund treatment for hearing loss, if your hearing has suddenly got worse and the aim of the treatment is to permanently restore your hearing to how it was previously. This is because most of our policies don’t cover deafness caused by a congenital abnormality, maturing or ageing.

A counsellor, psychologist, psychotherapist and CBT therapist can make a referral to a consultant psychiatrist, or another type of therapist within the mental health field.

Consultant to consultant referrals are accepted as this normally happens when it is in the best clinical interests of the patient or part of the clinical pathway for which the patient is being treated.

We accept referrals from a company doctor as this is the same as a GP referral.


A chiropractor can refer to a consultant for treatment of a muscle, bone or joint condition which relates to the symptoms for which they have been seeing the patient.

See Podiatrist referrals.

We will accept a referral from a dentist to an oral or maxillofacial consultant. Our policies don't normally cover dental or oral treatment. But, there are some exceptions. Please call us and we'll be happy to go through your benefits.

We will accept a referral from a dietician to a suitable specialist to treat the symptoms the dietician has seen the customer for.

Our Digital GP app provides consultations with qualified GP’s via video or phone appointments through its mobile application. A referral from a from Digital GP will be accepted as this is the same as a GP referral.

Emergency Nurse Practitioners may refer in the same way as an urgent care GP or doctor.

We will accept referrals made following a visit to a Bupa Health Clinic which takes place in a Bupa centre. Or assessments done in other equivalent centres provided they give the customer full notes and include a face to face discussion with a doctor and / or nurse.

Health visitors can refer a to a specialist, in the same way as a GP.

Midwives can refer to a specialist in the same way as a GP.


Please note, our policies normally don’t cover conditions which relate to pregnancy and childbirth, so please call us to check your available benefits.

Nurses can refer to a specialist in the same way as a GP.

In some community practices it may be common place for a patient to see a nurse for some services, like regular diabetic clinics. Such referrals are accepted as an alternative to a GP referral.


Nurse practitioners and specialist nurses can refer to a consultant or specialist for further treatment or investigations. They can also refer for physiotherapy and chiropractic or osteopathic treatment.

Occupational Health nurse/practitioner can refer for treatment, in the same way as a GP.

As Occupational health technicians are not registered, we'd need a nurse or GP to support any referral they make.


We will accept a referral from an optician or optometrist to an ophthalmologist.


An osteopath can refer to a suitable consultant for treatment of a muscle, bone or joint condition which relates to the symptoms for which they have been seeing the patient.

In certain situations, we can accept a referral for UK treatment from an overseas practitioner if:

  • The symptoms can be triaged through our Direct Access services e.g. a mental health, muscle, bone or joint condition or symptoms of cancer.
  • Treatment overseas has started, and the patient had to be repatriated to continue this in the UK and the medical notes are available in legible English.

A physiotherapist can refer to a suitable specialist for further investigations or treatment relating to the symptoms for which the therapist has been seeing the patient.

A physiotherapist can also refer to a Podiatrist for the specialist opinion of a foot or ankle complaint.

They can refer for Extra-corporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) for certain muscle, bone or joint conditions.

But, under the terms of our policies we do not accept a referral from a physiotherapist for diagnostic tests such as x-rays. If a physiotherapist feels that tests are required, they should refer onto a suitable consultant.


Physician associates work under the supervision of a fully qualified doctor. A referral would only be accepted if supported by the supervising doctor.


Podiatrists and chiropodists can refer to suitable consultant for treatment.

This would be to either an orthopaedic or podiatric consultant or a rheumatologist, as these specialise in the same field as the podiatrist / chiropodist.

Private GPs may refer for treatment with a specialist or consultant in the same way as an NHS GP or doctor.


A counsellor, psychologist, psychotherapist and CBT therapist can make a referral to a consultant psychiatrist, or another type of therapist within the mental health field.

SkinVision Health app helps users with an assessment of suspicious moles or lesions that require further testing. The app classes each photo as either high or low risk and recommends next steps.

We will accept a high risk referral from SkinVision and authorise subsequent consultations and minor tests with a suitable specialist, for example, a dermatologist.

We accept referrals to a specialist which were received following a remote appointment.

GPs or nurse/nurse practitioners based in walk-in clinics can make referrals to specialists or consultants.

Bupa Digital GP Services is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Digital GP services are provided by Babylon Healthcare Services Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 09229684. Registered office: 60 Sloane Avenue, London SW3 3DD.

Bupa health insurance is provided by Bupa Insurance Limited. Registered in England and Wales No. 3956433. Bupa Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Arranged and administered by Bupa Insurance Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales No. 3829851. Registered office: 1 Angel Court, London EC2R 7HJ.

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