Cookies on the Bupa website

We use cookies to help us understand ease of use and relevance of content. This ensures that we can give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive cookies for this purpose. Find out more about cookies


Refer a patient for private healthcare

Referring a patient for private healthcare

Whether you’re a GP, therapist or dentist, you can refer your patients to us for a wide range of healthcare services.

When to refer a patient

Your patients may ask to be referred to us because they:

  • have health insurance and wish to claim for their treatment (including mental health therapy)
  • want to pay for their own private treatment
  • want a second opinion on their diagnosis or treatment plan from a private healthcare professional
  • want a health assessment to help them make improvements to their health and lifestyle

Referral to: A consultant

When your patients need to see a specialist under their health insurance policy, they’ve three referral routes: Expand all
  • You give the patient a referral letter for further investigation and/or treatment with a named consultant. The patient then needs to call us to pre-authorise the consultation or treatment, and check that it’s covered by their policy. If the consultant isn’t available under their policy, we can offer them a choice of those who are or they may need to return to you.
  • For suspected bowel and breast cancers, mental health symptoms, and muscle, joint or bone symptoms – the patient simply calls our Member Services helpline to access treatment.

    Depending on their symptoms, they’ll have a telephone consultation with a senior physiotherapist or a member of our nurse-led self referral team who, if appropriate, will send them directly to a specialist for tests. Patients are offered a choice of specialists who’ve agreed not to send patients bills for additional fees and who’ve also met additional quality criteria.

  • All you need to do is determine the type of consultant the patient needs to see for further investigation and/or treatment and give them a referral letter, or our Open Referral form, which specifies the specialty/subspecialty of the consultant they need to see.

    When the patient calls us to pre-authorise the consultation or treatment, we use this information to offer them a choice of up to three recognised consultants with the clinical skills and expertise you specified. The patient can use Finder, our comprehensive online directory of recognised consultants, therapists and facilities across the UK, to decide who they’d prefer to see.

    Some of our customers have an Open Referral health insurance policy, which means that they’ll be offered a choice of recognised consultants rather than having a consultant named on their referral letter.

    Open Referral is popular because we’ll ensure that patients who follow this route see a consultant who charges within our benefit limits. We call these consultants “fee-assured”. This means that customers won’t receive any additional unexpected surgical or anaesthetist bills for eligible treatment. The consultants we offer them also meet additional criteria for how their clinical practice and customer experience compares with other consultants in their field.

    To refer a patient who has an open referral policy, please give them either:

    We’ve information for patients about how to make a claim here.

Reading glasses

Cataract surgery

if you’re an optometrist and would like to refer your insured patient for cataract surgery, simply ask them to call our Specialist Eye Care Team on: 0345 600 7267^. We’ll offer them a choice of recognised fee-assured consultants qualified to perform the surgery.

If you have any questions, please email

Employee on phone looking at paperwork

Bupa health and dental centres

Our health and dental centres are open to everyone, not just those with private health insurance.

They offer specialist treatment services including: physiotherapy and sports medicine, dental treatment, private GP services, cosmetic treatments, seasonal flu vaccinations, business or occupational health, cardiology, dermatology, urology and musculoskeletal services, health assessments, fitness assessments.

Use Finder, our online directory of healthcare professionals and healthcare services, to search for a Bupa Centre by location, or by the specialist services offered at the centre.
Entrance to Bupa Cromwell Hospital

Bupa Cromwell Hospital

The Cromwell is a private hospital, owned and run by us. Find out how to refer a patient or find out how to access Cromwell Direct for urgent admissions.

How to get in touch