Bupa, Britain’s biggest medical insurer has declared war on surgeons who charge too much. It plans to set up networks of approved surgeons, first in ophthalmology and later in orthopedics and ear nose and throat surgery.
Bupa's research revealed huge variations in the price and quality of eye operations carried out in private hospitals by surgeons who also work in the NHS. Bupa claim that some surgeons charge four times as much as the NHS price for operations, while standards vary greatly. Bupa networks of “approved” surgeons are designed to reduce costs and improve quality. Customers who choose to get treatment from outside the networks will find that their costs are not reimbursed in full, if at all.
Bupa's research has shown that there are big variations in the quality of eye surgery provided by private hospitals. Only half of ophthalmologists use their own Royal College’s clinical guidelines for measuring the effectiveness of operations. Almost a quarter of facilities do not routinely monitor two important complications of cataract surgery. It also found weaknesses in auditing services and the outcomes of surgery, which were both important if services were to be improved.