20 Apr

Medical PPE Contracts and Tendering

Insight

Medical PPE Contracts – Everything you Need to Know

Medical PPE contracts are essential to the functioning of our healthcare system. Without Personal Protective Equipment, infections spread and care staff in a wide range of locations and establishments are put at risk.

That’s why the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty upon employers to provide appropriate equipment for their staff.

Recent Changes

Covid-19 has raised many questions about the quantities of PPE available to key workers.

This may have highlighted a larger problem in the scope of Medical PPE contracts and further emphasised their importance in the tendering domain.

As the UK has left the EU, we will no longer be required to comply with their stipulated standards. Brexit Health Alliance is one of the many bodies which will support the NHS and other healthcare providers through the transition.

It will be a matter of time before we are truly certain of what the future holds for the UK. This uncertainty will undoubtedly affect Medical PPE contracts and many other medical tenders.

It is likely that most purchasing bodies will adhere to the existing EU regulations for ease and for quality assurance purposes.

It’s basic knowledge that the UK has a public healthcare system. But what you may not know is that this means all contracts must be put out to tender. This includes Medical PPE contracts. Other large organisations may procure PPE via tenders for logistical ease and quality assurance.

In summary, here are the different organisations who may seek to procure PPE:

  • NHS and associated bodies;
  • Councils;
  • Private healthcare bodies / providers;
  • Large third sector organisations (such as UNICEF or Oxfam).

Medical PPE contracts, in a normal year, may appear periodically. However, our healthcare systems are under unusual pressure.

The news outlets don’t fail to remind us that PPE for healthcare workers is scarce and inadequate.

Given predictions for the duration of COVID-19 and other flu-related infections, it is logical to predict that the country may remain in a PPE deficit for a while longer.

This means PPE tenders will continue to be published even once we are out of the Covid-19 bubble.

It will be worth keeping an eye out for the foreseeable future. Many bodies, both public and private, will continue to be in need of PPE on an ongoing basis as a result of the pandemic.

This has never been a more essential time for PPE suppliers to step up.

Medical PPE contracts will most likely appear in the format of a DPS (Dynamic Purchasing System) register, or a framework agreement. These are similar yet different.

Both contracts result in multiple suppliers being successful. Framework agreements have a set deadline like a single-supplier contract. DPS registers run for years at a time, adding suppliers continuously.

If you are unsuccessful, you can tweak your response and reapply for a DPS. These formats are incredibly beneficial for buyers to ensure that they can fulfil demand.

A framework agreement or a DPS may divide the required provision into ‘Lots’ to facilitate bidding.

These lots may be geographical – providing NHS bodies or similar in certain areas of the country with all items stipulated.

Alternatively, it may be split into product types; but on a national scale.

An example of this option is as follows:

  • Medical and pharmaceutical masks (Lot 1);
  • Gloves (Lot 2);
  • Aprons, gowns and overshoes (Lot 3);
  • Eye protection and visors (Lot 4);
  • General Respiratory Protective Equipment (Lot 5).

You will usually be able to bid for any or all lots – whichever requirements you can fulfil.

The tender process

There will be no noticeable difference between tenders for PPE and the typical NHS tendering process

The process will, therefore, involve a Selection Questionnaire (SQ) or Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), a selection of method statements and a pricing document.

Within the tender documentation, a detailed specification will be included. This document contains all the required information regarding the required products.

Certain items of PPE will need to comply with specific legislation, for example. The exact requirements of each item will be outlined here and will need a scrutinous review from all potential suppliers.

Crucially, for PPE contracts, the method statements may seek information about:

Proposed products to fulfil criteria

You will need to thoroughly review the specification to ensure the products you are proposing meet the buyer’s criteria – such as CE marking and relevant standards.

This may involve providing certificates/documents as proof. Buyers will be looking for you to explain how your products meet their needs.

If products are imported from outside of the European Union, the manufacturer must have undergone a conformity assessment as per the PPE Regulations 2016. For example, for protective masks such as FFP2/FFP3, the conformity assessment requires the following:

  • Examination from a notified body – resulting in a certificate;
    • Production follow up from a notified body.

From this, CE marking can be awarded, along with the notified body’s registration number. The manufacturer (either yourself or your supply chain) must issue the following with the PPE item(s):

  • An EU Declaration of Conformity;
    • Instructions for use.
  • Quality assurance.

How do you ensure the quality of your products every time? This will be a vital question to answer whether you are bidding as a manufacturer or a supplier.

If you are a manufacturer, how do you ensure that your products are fit for purpose and compliant every time? This may include describing internal method statements, staff training programmes, equipment maintenance and periodic testing.

If you are using a supply chain to provide the products, think about your supply chain management.

How do you check that your suppliers are compliant and execute best practice? Vetting, random audits and checking policies and procedures will be crucial here.

Delivery

Most likely, orders for PPE items on the contract will be fulfilled via couriers. Buyers may want to understand methodology for delivery, minimum order information and delivery costs.

Also relevant here, could be the use of packaging. Most buyers are geared towards choosing suppliers who can demonstrate an environmentally conscious approach. Recyclable packaging, or even better, reusable that can be sent back to you, could win you points.

Invoicing

You may be asked to describe your invoicing processes. This may be a case of confirming you will conform to the buyer’s stipulated invoicing systems/procedure or describing your own. Efficiency, transparency and consistency are key here. 

Pricing

This will usually be a separate document to the method statements. Demonstrating value for money is an incredibly important aspect of responding to any tender.

Prices should reflect the quality of the product and be sustainable for both your business and for the buyer.

Due to the current PPE shortage and the pressures the healthcare system faces, NHS bodies will not have the funds to source expensive items. Prices should reflect the current climate so that buyers can ensure the maximum number of suppliers to fulfil the ongoing shortage.

Wondering how you can easily source PPE contracts? Healthcare Tenders is a brand-new portal brought to you by Hudson Discover.

We don’t believe in CPV codes – we use real people, Opportunity Trackers, to find new contract opportunities every day. Our Opportunity Trackers scour multiple portals on a daily basis and collate a list of open contracts on our dedicated portal.

We have found our portals to be essential time-saving tools. You can focus on what you do best, and we find opportunities to help expand your business.

As a Healthcare Tenders customer, you will receive a daily bulletin directly to your inbox with contracts found that day that are relevant to your service offering.

Could I bid?

If you’re wondering whether you could or even should bid for PPE contracts – we say yes, you can! In the current climate, there has never been a greater need for PPE. If there is a framework or DPS seeking the provision of PPE, why not bid?

If you are a PPE manufacturer or a company with PPE providers in your supply chain, you could bid for Medical PPE Tenders right now.

An advantage of Medical PPE contracts is that you do not have to be based locally to deliver the work. Fulfilling orders via post enables companies to be based anywhere and removes the problem of not being based locally.

Further Support

Get in touch with Hudson today for bespoke support. To enquire about Healthcare Tenders, click here. We can offer you a free demo or a free trial to give you a taste of how this could help your business.

Below are previous PPE contracts sourced on our portal:

Framework for the Supply and Delivery of Personal Protective Equipment PPE

Northern Ireland Housing Executive- Northern Irelands- Budget: Undisclosed

Framework for Supply of Medical Face Masks to Housing and Other Bodies in Wales

Linc Cymru Housing Association- Wales- Budget: Undisclosed

PQQ Single Party Framework for the Provision of PPE- Hand Sanitizer

Bus Eireann/Irish Bus- International- Budget: £1,600,000

Framework for the Supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Liverpool City Council- North West- Budget: £106,000,000

Framework Agreement for the Supply of Disposable Gloves & Aprons

Supply Hertfordshire- Eastern- Budget: £20,000,000

The Healthcare Tenders Portal includes other Sub-Sectors including: 

If you’ve already found a PPE contract to bid for and want to chat about your next steps, our team at Hudson Succeed can help. Contact them here to find out more about our variety of bid writing support. We’re here to help you succeed.


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