BUPA basics

BUPA is the largest independent healthcare organisation in the UK, and has operations in seven other countries. The company is both a purchaser and a provider of health services. It owns and manages 39 acute care hospital, 221 care homes, 34 health screening centres, and also networks occupational health centres, home care services and nursing services. The group's worldwide turnover in 1998 was 41,786 million.

BUPA has overseas operations, mainly insurance, in Spain, Hong Kong, Thailand, Ireland and the Middle East. The company's medical insurance schemes are accessed in 180 countries.

BUPA's businesses are divided into the separate units of hospital care services membership, the Spanish operation Sanitas, and new businesses, which include the other overseas and international expatriate business, which is run from Brighton.

BUPA was created in 1947. The organisation was then known as the British United Provident Association. The organisation currently employs 40,000 people and provides healthcare funding to 4 million people worldwide. In the UK alone, the company has 2.3 million members and operates one of the largest hospital groups.

On the research and development front, BUPA spends $3 million towards medical research, and training and development of healthcare professionals. It is also the largest employer of nurses outside Britain's National Health Service, and provides 2,000 locum doctors and 15,000 nurses to more than 230 hospitals and 200 GP practices every year.