Our specialist dental tenders team have proven experience in winning dental contracts. Whether it’s orthodontic services, endodontics, minor oral surgery or general dentistry, this is an industry where a deep understanding of NHS requirements and demonstrating patient-centred care is critical to win contracts.
Winning a Dental tender
Dental tenders are ultimately commissioned by NHS England, whose ambition is to bring equity and excellence to the provision of care and treatment. They are rigorous and exacting in their requirements and have the needs of the patient at their heart. Tenderers must therefore demonstrate not only that they meet the service levels and compliance requirements, but also deliver outstanding quality, improved patient outcomes and value for money.
Showing understanding of the underlying motivations in NHS commissioning, and why the authority should award your practice the contract should be the core of any tender. You need to demonstrate, without doubt, that your offer is better than any large corporate that could potentially be better resourced or perceived as lower risk. As most dental tenders have set prices per UDA or per UOA for orthodontic tenders, there is little room for gaining a competitive edge on price. The evaluation and award of a dental contract therefore comes down to the quality of the written tender submission.
If you can demonstrate that you meet every requirement and your dental practice is exactly aligned to achieving NHSE ambitions, you stand a good chance of winning that contract.
Tender top tips
Top tips for winning Dental tenders
1. Patient Focussed
The NHS is patient-centred and outcome based, so you must demonstrate that the patient is at the centre of your service planning and delivery with equity of care for all patients. The patient experience must be positive and timely; consider how you meet patient expectations, the prioritisation of patients, managing referrals and waiting lists and how you meet the needs of vulnerable and hard to reach groups. Ensure you have robust customer care and quality assurance processes in place (e.g. feedback mechanisms). Proven experience is key; what evidence do you have to show how you have implemented patient feedback into your practice?
2. Robust Clinical Governance
The quality of your service to your patients is critical. Ensure all aspects of your clinical governance are as robust as possible. Adherence to regulatory standards, clinical audits, clearly defined roles, responsibilities and accountabilities, safeguarding procedures, health and safety, complaints procedures, incident reporting procedures, risk management and patient safety all need to be described and evidenced. Ticking all the different compliance boxes the commissioning authority is looking for is vital as well as having appropriate processes and procedures for managing and monitoring continued conformance. From a business cost perspective, it’s also important to establish the most appropriate governance mechanisms, for example, is it essential to join the BDA Good Practice Scheme?
3. Comprehensive Mobilisation Plan
The NHS is risk averse so your mobilisation plan will need to demonstrate that your service will be in place from day one, all potential risks to implementation have been mitigated and the needs of existing patients have been taken into consideration. You need to show how you’ve incorporated all the elements of a thorough mobilisation, even if some of these are already completed e.g. transfer of patient data, transfer of staff, fit-out of new dental surgery, installing new OPG/Ceph machine etc.
Your staffing structure must meet the qualifications, skill-mix and service delivery requirements detailed in the specification. Does your recruitment process follow NHS safer recruitment guidelines? What are your compliance checks? What is your training program? How do you ensure the retention of compliant, qualified, high-performing staff? How do you manage the conduct and performance of your staff? Consider whether TUPE might apply if you win the contract. The evaluators will be looking for confirmation that you have the right staff to deliver the contract, so ask yourself – what level of training should they have?
5. Strong Policies and Procedures
Are your practice policies strong, up to date and reviewed regularly? Do you have processes in place to make staff aware of changes? Is your Business Continuity Plan thorough, realistic and tested? You need to show how your dental practice is set up to ensure enough contingency in case of a disaster event, but again, you need to balance this with business costs and relative appropriateness. Do you really need a back-up compressor to win the contract?
To provide the assurance the NHS needs, you need to provide the proven experience and evidence from where you have delivered successful services previously. You should include facts and figures wherever possible, detail staff qualifications and experience, use case histories and testimonials with names, dates, results, PAR scores and patient outcomes.
Specific Dental tender issues to bear in mind
1. Lots & UOAs/UDAs
Dental tenders are broken down into Lots, with either a defined £value per Lot or a defined quantity of UOAs (Units of Orthodontic Activity) for Orthodontic tenders or UDAs (Units of Dental Activity) for dental tenders per Lot. Your tender response needs to be Lot-specific and aligned to the number of UOAs/UDAs. It is possible to bid for multiple lots; in these cases, there may be additional quality questions to answer to demonstrate your service can fulfil the needs of multiple Lots simultaneously, and that you have the financial stability to undertake this sort of solution.
2. Financial Model
Your whole proposal needs to be financially viable and include proof of funds for any up-front costs. Evaluators will cross reference everything, so the financial model needs to exactly reflect what you are promising to deliver in the other parts of the tender. If you are using 3 specialist orthodontists full-time, then these need to be fully costed in the financial model. If you are stating you’re going to install a new digital scanner as an innovation, has this been included in the set-up costs? The revenues generated from the price per UOA/UDA then need to be greater than set-up and ongoing costs, to demonstrate a positive cash-flow and ultimately that you have a viable business model.
3. Location & accessibility
The location and accessibility of your dental practice is vital in meeting NHSE ambitions to deliver equity of care for all patients. As such, descriptions of your practice must explain how you comply with the relevant guidance e.g. Disability Discrimination Act. What do you need to put in place to make your practice more accessible for all? E.g. is a hearing loop installed? How close is the nearest bus stop? Are 2 parking spaces going to be enough to demonstrate delivery of 15,000 UDAs/UOAs?
4. Transfer of patients
One of the consequences of winning a dental contract can be the need to transfer patients and their records from one practice to another. Your response needs to highlight a thorough understanding of this requirement, and detail how you will ensure continuing care and protect patient data.
5. Local oral care issues
This is a key area where smaller practices can really differentiate themselves from larger competitors. What can you demonstrate in your tender that shows you have a better understanding of local oral care issues than any other bidder? Are there key demographics you can include? Are there specific dental issues with parts of the local population that only your practice knows about and can deal with? Show the preventative measures you have put in place. Show how you engage with the community to reduce the impacts of poor oral health on NHS resources.
6. Data protection
All organisations that have access to NHS patient data and systems must use the DSP toolkit www.dsptoolkit.nhs.uk to provide assurance that they are practising good data security and that personal information is handled correctly and in accordance with GDPR.
Complete Tenders’ proven success in winning dental tenders and orthodontic tenders comes from applying a detailed knowledge of the dental services industry to best principles in securing NHS contracts.
I asked Complete Tenders to advise and help me prepare tenders for the NHSE Orthodontic Services contracts and we were successful in both bids. Matthew and his team were a great help and support with their deep knowledge of healthcare services and how to win NHS contracts as well as their calm influences during a challenging process and very stressful time. I highly recommend Mathew and his team.
Dr Amal Maizar, E&G Ortho Ltd
Complete Tenders assisted me in the process of re-tendering for our NHS orthodontic contract as part of a large procurement project. From the outset Matthew was an excellent listener and provided a high level of support in the whole process. I found him easy to communicate with and responsive, with quick turnaround when I posed questions via email or telephone. His team assisted with the writing of the documentation for the submission - I had concerns that using a Company to assist in this process would lead to a generic submission and that this would have a negative impact to the submission. On the contrary - Matthew and his team helped me to create a thorough and robust framework to which I could add the stamp of how I wanted the submission to be presented so that it reflected my practice in the best light. Thanks to Matthew and his Team we have successfully secured a new contract. I have no hesitation in highly recommending Complete Tenders.
Dr Beth Richardson, Basingstoke Orthodontics
Tailored support throughout the entire tendering process
Our NHS contract wins have to date generated over £25m in revenue for our SME customers, and over £70m in total. We have helped dental service providers to navigate important new legislation and respond to key changes in the NHS approach so that they can continue to secure business growth. We have attained National and Regional framework (CCS, HTE, ESPO, CPP, LPP, NOE CPC, EOE CPC, NHS SBS etc.) status for multiple SMEs with 100%-win rate.
Let our Tender Writing Specialists do the work for you
Our team of experts can manage the whole Dental tendering process – from targeting, drafting and editing, to submission and contract award. We have a level of expertise that can tackle the complexity of a clinical questionnaire and get to the heart of what the NHS is really looking for.
Our bid management and tender writing consultants support businesses of all sizes, in every sector. We have an excellent track record of winning contracts by crafting exceptional tender responses to meet exact requirements.