June 23, 2022

HCA Healthcare UK and Bupa launch Specialist Centres for Bowel Cancer

HCA Healthcare UK has partnered with Bupa UK Insurance to launch new Specialist Centres for Bowel Cancer, giving patients fast access to diagnostic tests and if required onward care.

The Specialist Centres offer Bupa health insurance customers market-leading speed of access from diagnostics to treatment. They also ensure the patient journey is as smooth as possible by offering all initial cancer tests under one roof.

The first HCA UK centres are now open at London Bridge Hospital and The Wellington Hospital. There are plans to further extend the network to other HCA UK hospitals later this year.

Bowel cancer is the second biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK, with 43,000 people diagnosed each year. Despite this, findings from the new Bupa Wellbeing Index show there are significant levels of confusion and embarrassment surrounding the disease and over a third (35%) of UK adults don’t know the warning signs.1

This is a contributing factor to people being diagnosed with bowel cancer at a much later stage when it’s harder to treat. A recent study found that a third of UK cancer patients are now first diagnosed after going to A&E with severe symptoms.2

To speed up 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 new 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 Bupa – twice as fast as national targets. Patients using the Specialist Centres will have their treatment planned by a multidisciplinary team of oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, and cancer nurse specialists. They will also have access to clinical trials and genetic testing if appropriate.

Alex Perry, CEO of Bupa UK Insurance said

Even a four-week delay in cancer treatment can significantly impact health outcomes, and we know that early diagnosis saves lives. Our network of Specialist Centres for Breast Cancer launched in 2019 have already helped thousands of patients to get the all-clear, or a diagnosis and access to treatment very quickly.

We’re pleased to be launching our Bowel Cancer specialist centres with the Cromwell Hospital and HCA Healthcare UK, so that customers who are worried about possible symptoms of bowel cancer can quickly access clinical experts and the very best care from diagnosis through to treatment.

John Reay, President & CEO at HCA Healthcare UK said

Experiencing symptoms of cancer is an incredibly worrying time, and an early diagnosis is vital to improving long-term survival. An early cancer diagnosis provides a wider range of treatment options, and often improved treatment outcomes and quality of life. Partnering with Bupa to launch Specialist Centres for Bowel Cancer means that more people will be able to access our rapid diagnostic services.

Patients diagnosed with cancer will receive the highest standard of person-centred care, from our expert multidisciplinary teams, including the latest innovative treatments and importantly, emotional and physical support therapies. This partnership reflects our market-leading cancer care and our commitment to robust quality and governance frameworks.”

Mr Alastair Windsor, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon and Chair of the HCA UK GI Board adds

Catching bowel cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage significantly improves treatment outcomes. Specialist Centres for Bowel Cancer are a fast and easy way for people experiencing symptoms to access an expert diagnosis. Speedy investigations can be carried out in just one appointment and if required, there is fast access to expert treatment and care.

Key features of the Specialist Centres for Bowel Cancer include:
  • One appointment for all initial diagnostics under one roof within four working days of calling Bupa, giving customers peace of mind or fast access to treatment.
  • Treatment begins within 31 days of first calling Bupa, which is twice as fast as national targets. Customers can also access clinical trials and genetic testing, if appropriate.
  • Emotional and wellbeing support from counsellors and nurses, and access to Bupa’s Live Well with Cancer and enhanced recovery programmes.


Bupa commissioned Censuswide to poll a nationally representative sample of 8,185 UK adults. The data was collected between 18.03.2022 - 24.03.2022. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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

HCA UK and Bupa launch Specialist Centres for Bowel Cancer
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