The NHS spends billions of pounds each year procuring services, works, and goods from suppliers within the country and beyond. This gives a lot of opportunities for many businesses to get NHS contracts. In most cases, these contracts tend to be for a long term and they are lucrative. The NHS is usually faced with many challenges, such as budget cuts, and global pandemics, so is constantly looking for new suppliers who offer innovative solutions. This includes IT, cleaning services, PPE, and construction.
As you can see, there is a wide range of NHS tenders that you can find out there and are regularly announced. Regardless of whether or not you have experience with the NHS tenders, there is a good chance that you can find tender opportunities at Tracker. This page provides the top tips to help you win the NHS contracts.
The NHS contracts
Whether you clean the floors of hospitals or offer the actual flooring, you need to understand the objectives of the NHS when it comes to procuring any service or product. This is the only way you can win a contract with them. You should note that the goal of the NHS is to bring excellence and equity to the provision of treatment and care.
A commissioning process usually achieves this by aligning with the NHS’ priorities as stated in the NHS mandate. The procuring process also makes sure that your bid is patient-centered and outcome-based. This means that you need to place the patient at the center of planning and delivery. Therefore, commissioners and providers need to provide improved outcomes for the patients. This can also be achieved by ensuring that it is fair and consistent in the country. In other words, patients should have equal access to products or services regardless of where they are located. The services or products you intend to deliver should also improve value, productivity, and efficiency.
As a result of this, NHS tenders tend to be rigorous and need you to meet their requirements. Quite often, they have complicated specifications because failure of the service or product can have an impact on patient care. Therefore, bidders need to demonstrate that they meet each requirement and deliver high quality and value for money. And, if you can overcome these requirements, the NHS contract can be financially rewarding over time.
Tips to help you win NHS contracts
It’s crucial to read the tender specification carefully before you start. You should remember that the specifications can be complicated, but you have to show that you can meet the NHS requirements or they may not consider you.
Besides this, you need to ensure that you have all the required qualifications, accreditations, procedures, and policies in place to demonstrate that you have a reputable business foundation. A good foundation can prove that you can deliver the needed services or products.
As mentioned earlier, the NHS doesn’t take risks, so offering the assurances that your product or service cannot negatively affect a patient is important. You need to have great quality assurance and customer care processes in place.
And, the NHS seeks continuous performance improvement. Therefore, you must demonstrate that you can track and monitor your service. Even better, you should have management information and reporting systems. You should also have the proper channels of communication. Remember that you need to communicate your performance so that you can demonstrate that your service offers the highest standards.
The NHS also wants long-term value for money instead of just price. Therefore, you need to manage the contract efficiently, and properly, and demonstrate long-term commitments in efficiency. It’s a good idea to gather the evidence to show the NHS how you have offered your services to other customers. Also, you must show how you have helped other organizations save money.
It’s also crucial to answer all the tender questions correctly. Hence, you should read and even re-read the questions before answering them. If you are unsure, then consider asking the NHS buyer for some clarification via the official procurement portal. But make sure that you leave out the information that is not relevant.
You also use relevant case histories, testimonials, and experiences to offer the assurance and the evidence the NHS wants. It makes sense to include names, facts, results, dates, and previous outcomes as proof of your tender responses.
Specific NHS tender issues
If you desire to bid for services, works, or products that involve patients or moving people, you have to register your business with the Care Quality Commission. But remember that you must have a registration number before you decide to bid.
Evidencing current capability tends to be a part of any potential supplier selection process. Therefore, you need to have at least three relevant reference points unless you have a start-up business or you have a good reason not to include references.
You need some sort of investment to win a bid. Hence, you can stand in a better position by having some finances in advance. This is especially true if equipment, cars, training, and recruitment are required.
And, regardless of whether you want to bid for hospital work, such as non-emergency patient transport services or even NHS ambulance work like 999 or front-line, the NHS can expect you to have your all-encompassing policies that should be of great quality to meet their standards.
It’s worth mentioning that front-line or 999 bids are usually followed. The Governance Inspection Visit makes these inspections to make sure that all the documents and facts you provided at the stage are correct and fit for purpose.
The NHS always looks for person-centered care that has the infrastructure to reduce risk and support care. This means that you have to show how your staff members are pre-screened and selected. Aside from these, you also need to demonstrate that you follow safer hiring, training, and retention processes that allow you to hire and retain professional employees to match the standards of the NHS. Once you meet these standards, the NHS can rest assured that your business can offer the quality services they need.