By JONATHAN FINE
I’ve talked before about the challenge to independent practices from Bupa; it has a formidable brand and is moving into the dental sector in a big way.
If you ask Joe Bloggs what going to a Bupa dentist is like, even if he’s never been, he’ll say you always get high quality care. Or that’s what he’d say if he didn’t live in Middlesbrough.
Bupa’s Hillview Nursing Home in Eston, Middlesbrough has been told it cannot take any new admissions until improvements are made after a resident suffered unnecessarily for five days before being rushed to hospital.
Last month the local paper reported on poor care of another resident and one staff member at Hillview took to Facebook to declare the man was a “nightmare” and “swore all the time”.
The staff member wrote: “If the family was so concerned they should have took him home and looked after him they and they wouldn’t do that as he is too much hard work.”
More staff members were among the 15 who ‘liked’ the post.
In the UK Bupa insures over 130,000 employees through employer dental health plans and it’s on track with its plan to own 50 dental centres by the end of 2015, becoming one of the largest private dental chains in the UK.
All this growth is built on Bupa’s brand and perceived values, but brands can be destroyed overnight, and Bupa’s mistakes in its care home division serve as a salutary warning that you can never get blasé about your brand, however big you are.
If you’d like help protecting your practice’s reputation from this kind of damage, talk to Breathe about your social media policy.