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The majority of orthodontic tendering opportunities are for the public sector, specifically the NHS. The Midlands, North and East of England are the regions where most orthodontic tendering opportunities lie for the NHS.
NHS England commissions orthodontic services in the NHS England Midland and East via managed clinical networks (MCNs). These are slightly different from other NHS services that are procured via NHS procurement hubs.
There are quite a few hoops you must jump through if your business is considering the orthodontic tendering process. They’re there for good reasons, as providing the best patient care should be at the heart of any healthcare procurement.
Orthodontic tendering can seem like a daunting process if you’re new to it. A combination of quality improvement and lower cost agendas can make it difficult. The ever-changing landscape of patient care and clinical skills is tough to keep on top of. Providing trustworthy and safe dental care is unfortunately no longer enough to win.
With that in mind, this blog includes some helpful tips on how to succeed at orthodontic tendering.
Before you even begin you need to read the specification carefully and ask yourself the following:
Does my business meet the minimum economic and financial thresholds?
Do I have the resources to deliver the goods, works or services that are required?
Do I have the necessary experience and qualifications required?
You should always ask yourself these questions before you begin your tendering response. It’s the ultimate question: to bid or not to bid? You must establish your answers to these questions before you proceed.
If the answer is no to any of the above, it may not be the right opportunity for your business. If the answer is yes, you should carry on and start planning your response.
Typically, the orthodontic tendering process starts when NHS England commissions a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ). This is released when they’re looking to procure orthodontic works, goods, or services. A PQQ can also be known as a selection questionnaire (SQ). They are essentially where you provide your company’s information and a box-ticking exercise. You’ll need to confirm non-collusion and establish your environmental and equality and diversity policies.
If you meet all the minimum criteria at the PQQ stage, you will be then sent an invitation to tender (ITT). This is where the serious work begins. It’s within the ITT that you detail how to plan to carry out and fulfil the contract if you win. The suppliers with the best chance of winning will read the specification, and formulate a response that demonstrates:
“Yes, I can do that, here’s how and here’s the benefit to you if you pick me”.
You have to persuade the buyers into thinking you’re the best business for the job. You must show that you not only meet the service requirements but will deliver:
Once you’ve submitted your bid the buyer will then review each one. They will then award the contract to the highest scoring tender response based on both quality and price.
Orthodontic tendering opportunities often are presented in Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPSs). There are also Personal Dental Services Agreements and Pseudo Dynamic Purchasing Systems (PDPS). These are similar to framework agreements that are frequently used within the healthcare sector and the NHS. The main differences are that a business can join at any time, and there’s no limit on numbers of suppliers.
Traditional tendering contracts will be awarded to one supplier. However, DPS’ are multi-supplier agreements that are used when a buyer wants to procure multiple goods or services. Once a business has passed both the PQQ and ITT stages, the buyer will create a shortlist of approved suppliers. Then, for each new project, they will hold a mini competition (or call for competition) with the pre-approved suppliers. Suppliers don’t have to re-do the PQQ stage, saving time they can skip straight to the ITT stage.
Securing a place on a DPS can be a lucrative opportunity for your dental business. They can run for multiple years with the possibility of extensions.
Orthodontic tenders are often broken down into Lots. Each Lot may be a different service, product or location. They can be defined either by value per Lot, or a defined quantity of UOAs (Units of Orthodontic Activity). Your orthodontic tendering response needs to be Lot-specific and aligned to the number of UOAs. A business is able to bid for multiple Lots. However, you will need to demonstrate that you can fulfil the needs or service of multiple Lots. You will also have to prove that you have the financial stability to undertake the work of multiple Lots.
As mentioned above, the NHS has a customer-centred approach. They want to know how you will provide the best patient care while meeting their eligibility criteria. The patent care must be robust, and your quality assurance processes must be watertight.
Proven evidence is key when submitting a bid in the public sector. Buyers want to be reassured that you have the necessary experience and completed work of similar scope. Often, they’ll require up to three case studies of similar contracts you’ve completed within the last five years. The NHS wants to have concrete evidence that demonstrates you have previously delivered successful services. You may be required to attach testimonials and the contact information of previous clients.
Your business must demonstrate the uphold best in practice as with any business in the healthcare sector. You must ensure that all aspects of your clinical governance are as robust as possible. For example, you must adhere to:
You should establish the most appropriate governance mechanisms and networks. These could include, but aren’t limited to:
Your mobilisation plan needs to demonstrate potential risks and how they are to be mitigated. The NHS is risk-averse so you will have to take the needs of patients into consideration. You must show how you’ve incorporated all the elements into a thorough and comprehensive mobilisation plan. The NHS is focused on sustainability so it’s worth considering how you can factor that in.
Most UOAs and orthodontic tenders have set prices. This means there’s little room to gain a competitive edge via pricing. This means the quality of your written response matters. You should never assume the buyer knows anything. Leaving room for assumptions can allow for the wrong assumptions to be made. Explain everything clearly and concisely. Leave the overly technical jargon out.
We get that you don’t always have the time to formulate an orthodontic tendering response – writing isn’t everyone’s strong suit. So, we offer bid writing support packages that can help get you on the path to winning your next tender.
Finding the right orthodontic tendering opportunity for your business can take a large chunk out of your day. There are thousands of sites that host tenders across multiple sectors all throughout the UK. It can turn into a full-time job.
Luckily for you, we have a solution that can save you time. Our Healthcare Tenders portal is a tendering platform that hosts hundreds of new healthcare opportunities from across the UK. We don’t reply on mislabelled CPV codes to bring you leads. Instead, our Opportunity Trackers manually search and upload industry relevant tenders to our portal.
You are then able to filter the results via keyword, budget, location and more. This means you get access to all available live tenders that are relevant to your business.
Expression of Interest for Specialist Led Orthodontic Services in the Colchester Area, Essex.
NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit- Eastern- Budget: Undisclosed
Expressions of Interest for the Provision of Orthodontics in Lincolnshire
NHS Arden and Greater East Midlands Commissioning Support Unit- East Midlands- Budget: Undisclosed
Provision of Orthodontic Services North Ceredigion
NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership-Procurement Services (hosted by Velindre University NHS Trust)- Wales- Budget: £1,369,922
Supply of Orthodontic Consumables
University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust- West Midlands- Budget: £73,000