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NHS tenders

Winning NHS Tenders: A Beginner’s Guide

Monday 1 July, 2024

Securing a contract with the NHS can be a lucrative opportunity for businesses of ALL sizes however, the whole process can seem daunting when you first start. This guide aims to demystify the tendering process and the intricacies of NHS procurement, providing practical steps to increase your chances of success!

The NHS purchases many goods and services, from medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to IT systems and catering. To ensure transparency and value for money, the NHS follows a strict procurement process inviting businesses to submit tender proposals.


Finding NHS Tendeopportunities

NHS contracts over £12,000 (inc VAT) must be put out to tender and the NHS do this on:

-- Contracts Finder: typically this is for lower-value contracts.

-- Find a Tender Service (FTS): for high-value contracts (usually above £139,688 inc VAT).

Here at Complete Tenders we have collated all of the opportunities into one central listing, our Open Tenders service where, in addition to the listings, we send you a daily email alert highlighting all the new opportunities.

No matter how you choose to find your opportunities, ensure you have a process in place to find your next opportunity. You want to jump on the opportunity as soon as it is published, the worst thing is to find the perfect opportunity only to find out it’s just about to close and you don’t have the time to respond. 


Understanding the Tender Requirements

Before starting your response, thoroughly read the tender documentation. There can be a lot of documents which will include:

-- The Specification: specific details of what the NHS is looking to purchase.

-- Evaluation Criteria: information on how your bid will be assessed and scored.

-- Instructions for Submission: the deadlines and required formats for submission.

Don’t get started until you are clear on what’s required and confident you can deliver. And, if you are unsure, ask clarification questions.


Preparing Your Tender Response

When preparing your tender response you must consider the following:


The NHS has specific standards and regulations, especially regarding patient safety and data protection. Ensure your bid addresses this and you have what you need, this could include:

-- Clinical Governance: your approach to maintaining high standards of care.

-- Data Security: how you protect sensitive information in compliance with GDPR and NHS policies.

-- Carbon Reduction Plan: a declaration of your commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2050 (or earlier if you choose) and your plan to get there.

Ensure you meet all the mandatory requirements, missing out on even one can disqualify your bid! We can support you with a suite of plans, policies and procedures.


Highlight your expertise, experience, and the quality of your products or services.

Value for Money 

Provide a competitive price but also demonstrate how you offer value beyond cost, such as through innovation, sustainability, or added benefits. Share how you have previously delivered long-term value to your customers.

Demonstrate Capability and Capacity

Provide the assurance the NHS needs in your ability to deliver the contract by providing evidence of past performance, qualifications, and capabilities. This might include:

-- Case Studies: examples of previous successful projects.

-- References: testimonials from other clients, particularly within the healthcare sector.

-- Certifications: relevant industry accreditations and standards.

Demonstrate Monitoring

Share details on how you will track and monitor performance. Think about what reporting you have in place, the management system available and how you will communicated this performance.

Show how you Support Care and Reduce Risk

The NHS is continually striving for person-centred care, supported by robust infrastructure to enhance care and minimise risk. You must be able to demonstrate how your staff pre-screening, selection, safer recruitment, training, and retention processes enable you to recruit and retain a professional workforce that meets the standards of your potential customers.


You will need to be able to show your business is financially stable. If you will need to invest in order to deliver the contracts, have those finances pre-arranged.

You may also need to consider:

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Does the contract require you to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), if so you will need a registration number before you can submit your tender response.


Writing and Submitting your Tender Response

Your tender response will typically be through an online portal and will have a word or character count so familiarise yourself with these.

Ensure your responses are clear, concise, and answer the question. Cut the waffle and avoid jargon.

Don’t forget to proof-read before you submit, and remember the deadline provide is a definitive deadline, it’s not a guide date, don’t submit your response late.


Winning an NHS tender requires preparation, a thorough understanding of requirements, and a strategic approach to demonstrating your value. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can enhance your chances of securing a contract and contributing to the essential services provided by the NHS.

If you need help writing your tender response find out more about how our tender writing services can help you here, or get in touch, contact details are below.

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