Tenders for NHS Contracts

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Our team of tender writing specialists and bid management consultants have an outstanding success rate in winning NHS tenders. Make sure your business competes successfully and wins more NHS tenders.

Winning a contract with the NHS

Whether you clean hospital floors or provide the actual flooring, understanding the NHS’s objectives to procuring any product or service is critical to winning a contract with them. The ambition of NHS England is to bring equity and excellence to the provision of care and treatment.

This is achieved through a commissioning process which:

*NHS England (London Region) Procurement Scheme – 2018 ITT Specification.

Consequently, NHS tenders are rigorous and exacting in their requirements, often with complicated specifications as failure of the product or service is likely to have some impact on patient care.

Tenderers must therefore demonstrate not only that they meet every requirement, but also deliver outstanding quality and value for money. However, if these difficulties can be overcome, a contract with the NHS can be more than financially rewarding.

Tender top tips

Top tips for winning NHS tenders

1. Read the specification carefully

Read the specification through carefully before you start. These can be complicated but you need to be able to demonstrate that you can meet all the requirements or you will not be considered.

2. Check your accreditations

Make sure you have all the necessary accreditations, qualifications, policies and procedures in place to show that you have established a solid business foundation upon which you can deliver the required products or services.

3. Provide assurances

The NHS is risk averse – so providing the assurances that your service will not negatively affect patients is crucial. You must have robust customer care and quality assurance processes in place.

4. Demonstrate monitoring

The NHS look for continuous improvement in performance. So think how you can demonstrate that you track and monitor your service. What management information and reporting systems are in place?

5. Communicate performance

How will you communicate your performance with the NHS to show how your service will guarantee the highest standards?

6. Value for money, not just cheap

The NHS look 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, collect the evidence you need to demonstrate how you have done this for other customers. How have you saved other organisations money?

7. Leave out irrelevant information

Above all else, answer the tender questions properly. Read and re-read the questions and if you are not sure, ask the NHS buyer for clarification through the official procurement portal. Leave out irrelevant information.

8. Relevant case histories

Use relevant case histories, experiences and testimonials to provide the evidence and the assurance the NHS needs. Always try to include facts, names, dates, results and previous outcomes to back up your tender responses.

NHS Tender Quote

Matthew at Complete Tenders has worked with us on many successful projects over the last 2 years and managed tenders that helped us to win some very large contracts, including a recent single supplier award to provide permanent recruitment across 7 NHS Wales Health Boards. On every occasion, he has understood our needs and our challenges and has delivered over and above our expectations.

Charlotte Fisher, HCL Permanent Ltd

Specific issues to bear in mind with NHS tenders

Care Quality Commission (CQC)

If you want to bid for work that involves moving people (patients), you will need to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). You will need a registration number before bidding.


Part of the supplier selection process is evidencing current capability. Up to 3 relevant reference points are generally needed; unless your business is a start-up, or you have a genuine reason not to have references.


Success in a bid will usually need some form of investment. It is advantageous to have finances arranged in advance, particularly if vehicles, equipment, recruitment and training are needed.

Check your policies

Whether you intend to bid for hospital work (e.g. non-emergency patient transport services) or NHS ambulance work (e.g. 999/front-line) you will be expected to have your own all-encompassing policy suite that will be of a quality to meet NHS standards.

Governance Inspection Visit (GIV)

Complex, or 999/front-line bids will be followed up by a Governance Inspection Visit (GIV). This is to ensure that all the facts and documents presented at the tender stage are true, accurate and fit for purpose.

Support care and reduce risk

The NHS is always looking for person-centred care with the infrastructure to support care and reduce risk. You will need to be able to demonstrate how your staff pre-screening, selection, safer recruitment, training and retention processes allow you to recruit and retain a professional workforce to match your potential customer’s standards.

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Our NHS contract wins have to date generated over £25m in revenue for our SME customers, and over £70m in total. We have helped 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.

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