Bupa teams up with HCA to take on bowel cancer

Bupa UK Insurance has partnered with HCA Healthcare UK to launch new specialist centres for bowel cancer, giving patients fast access to diagnostic tests and onward care if required.

These offer the health insurer’s customers ‘market-leading speed of access’ from diagnostics to treatment and aim to ensure the patient journey is as smooth as possible by offering all initial cancer tests under one roof. 

The first three centres have opened at HCA’s London Bridge Hospital and The Wellington Hospital, and Bupa’s Cromwell Hospital. It is planned to extend the network later this year. 

President and chief executive at HCA Healthcare UK, John Reay, said: ‘Partnering with Bupa to launch specialist centres for bowel cancer means that more people will be able to access our rapid diagnostic services – and, if required, the highest standard of person-centred care from our expert multidisciplinary teams, including the latest innovative treatments and, importantly, emotional and physical support therapies.’

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK, with 43,000 people diagnosed each year. 

But findings from the new Bupa Wellbeing Index conducted by Censuswide show there are significant levels of confusion and embarrassment surrounding the disease and over a third (35%) of adults do not know the warning signs. 

This is a contributing factor to people being diagnosed with bowel cancer much later when it is harder to treat. A recent study found a third of UK cancer patients are now first diagnosed after going to A&E with severe symptoms.* 

To speed access to cancer tests and treatment, Bupa customers who are worried about symptoms can call its Cancer Direct Access service to be referred to the specialist centres for bowel cancer, usually without needing to see a GP. 

There they can have all initial diagnostic tests and scans in the same appointment for a diagnosis and if it is not cancer, be given the all-clear on the same day.

If treatment is needed, it will start within 31 days of calling the insurer – twice as fast as national targets. 

Bupa UK Insurance chief executive Alex Perry said the insurer’s network of specialist centres for breast cancer launched in 2019 had helped thousands of patients to get the all-clear or a diagnosis and access to quick treatment.

Bupa commissioned Censuswide to poll a nationally representative sample of 8,185 UK adults. The data was collected between 18-24 March 2022. (See page 22). 

* According to research published in the Lancet Oncology journal, more than a third of British cancer patients are diagnosed in A&E

See ‘HCA opens cancer clinic in NHS unit