Tenders for NHS Contracts

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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:

  • is aligned with the priorities of NHS England as set out within the NHS Mandate*
  • is patient-centred and outcome based. The patient must be placed at the centre of planning and delivery. Commissioners, working with providers, must deliver improved outcomes for them
  • is fair and consistent throughout the country, ensuring that patients have equal access to services regardless of their location
  • improves value, productivity and efficiency

*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.

Top tips for winning NHS contracts:

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.

Specific NHS tender issues to bear in mind:

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.

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.

Capability

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.

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.

Investment

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.

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.

NHS tenders we’ve won:

  • Cleaning services
  • General Dental Services
  • Orthodontics
  • Restorative Dentistry (Endodontics)
  • Temporary and Permanent Recruitment
  • Workforce Managed Services
  • Frontline Ambulance Services
  • NHS Technology Solutions
  • Grounds Maintenance
  • Decontamination services
  • Supply of medical equipment
  • Patient Transport
  • Print and Mail Services
  • Specialist Flooring
  • Supply of medical consumables
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Our NHS customers

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 FisherHCL Permanent Ltd

We have been very happy with the excellent service provided and I guess it is now just a question of waiting but I feel that we did do all that we could with the tender response. Thank you for all that you have done. Without your help, I don’t think we would have had a clue where to start and it was a great comfort knowing that someone was there guiding us through.

Andrea GoodallPractice Manager, Christchurch Orthodontics

I had concerns that using a company to assist in this (tender) process would lead to a generic submission but 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 RichardsonBasingstoke Orthodontics

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 MaizarE&G Ortho Ltd

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 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 NHS 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.

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