Billions of pounds is spent each year by the NHS in procuring goods, services and from suppliers across the UK and beyond. This provides large opportunities for businesses to acquire NHS contracts, which are often profitable and offer long-term income.
The NHS is faced with large scale challenges, such as budget cuts to a global pandemic. Therefore it is seeking new suppliers who can provide innovative solutions. This includes cleaning, IT, construction and PPE. There are a wide variety of NHS tenders available and regularly being announced.
Most public sector tenders are procured through different routes depending on the value of the contract. However, the method is consistent and precise across all forms of procurement. If the contract value of a NHS tender is the same as the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) threshold or exceeds it, the contract must legally be procured through the tendering process.
Contracts which are lower than the OJEU threshold can either be quoted directly or also tendered for through local authorities or Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s).
In most cases a prior information notice (PIN) will be released by the commissioner. This is usually within 2-12 months of the contract release. The launch of the tender will be through a contract notice. This includes an overview of the works and details of the contract, including the stages and expectations for the stages and deadlines.
In some cases, a ‘meet the buyer’ event can be planned. This is a great opportunity to attend and find out more about the NHS tender and ask any questions. It is also a great chance to build your network and potential partnerships.
A PPQ or SQ is usually the next step, before anyone can start a tendering for the contract. This helps ensure the most suitable businesses continue through the process, and can actually deliver the works involved. The next step is to receive an ITT. From this point it is important to develop a winning bid to showcase how the bidder can be the perfect supplier.
Once the tenders have been submitted and scored, there may be a further step to interview a few shortlisted candidates. This is often a presentation style meeting, this a critical opportunity for the bidder to prove themselves.
A final decision will be made adn all those involved will be notified.
Tips for winning NHS contracts
Read the Specification
It is important to read the specification carefully before beginning the process. Although it can be complicated it is vital that the bidder is able to demonstrate that they can meet all the requirements or they will not be considered.
The bidder should make sure they have all the necessary accreditation , qualifications, policies and procedures in place to show that the bidder has a solid business foundation upon which you can deliver the required products or services.
The NHS is risk averse – so providing the assurances that the bidders service will negatively affect patients is crucial. The bidder must have robust customer care and quality assurance processes in place.
Value for money
The NHS looks for long-term value for money, rather than just price. They want the contract to be managed properly, efficiently and show long-term improvements in efficiency. So the bidder should look to collect evidence they will need to demonstrate how they have done this for other customers.
Relevant case histories
Use relevant case histories, experiences and testimonials to provide the evidence and the assurance the NHS needs. The bidder should try to include facts, names, dates, results and previous outcomes to back up their tender response.
Benefits to winning an NHS Contracts
The NHS looks for suppliers across a wide range of industries and offerings. This makes it an attractive customer for many businesses who are looking to grow and potentially expand their offerings.
NHS tenders are usually long-term contracts or framework agreements, providing regular consistent work for business. A long term view of potential work and profits is always advantageous for business planning. Not only are they typically financially rewarding, but they can also open up more opportunities with other public sector organisations.