The UK Government spent £9.2 billion with private sector contractors in 2018/2019. That represents 7.3% of the total healthcare budget and an increase of £1.2 billion since 2014/2015.
Contracts include the management and operation of hospitals, provision of in-patient and out-patient services, and care in the community. They also include the supply of equipment, clinical staff (doctors, nurses, etc.), and catering.
Health and welfare contracts are also let by other bodies such as Local Authorities, Police and Crime Commissioners, Border Force, and Community Rehabilitation Companies. They include care homes, healthcare in custody suites, and community programmes such as support for those with mental health problems and drug and alcohol addiction.
Common questions our bid writers prepare in health and community care bids include:
- Clinical excellence and standards
- Facilities management (e.g. cleaning and maintenance)
- Quality management
- Information governance and protecting patient confidentiality
- IT systems
- Staff training and management
- TUPE transfer
- Logistics planning
- Management of risks and issues
- Contingency Planning
- Stakeholder management and communications
- Sustainability, including environmental matters, and compliance with the Social Value Act
- Delivering value for money.
Our approach to Medical, Health and Community Care Bid Writing
We adopt a flexible approach to preparing these types of bids as each one is different and our clients have different requirements.
For larger and more complicated bids, we produce and agree a proposal at the start of the project with you that includes bid phases, key deliverables and milestones.
The bid plan is likely to include:
- Holding an initial workshop with those people in your company who will have an input into the bid so that we all understand the nature of the bid, your strategy, key milestones and deadlines.
- Identifying subject matter experts – those people in your company who hold the information we need to prepare the tender.
- Creating a storyboard for each question – that is an outline of the content, win themes and evidence – by interviewing the subject matter experts and holding workshops.
- Producing a first draft of the responses to each question for review by the subject matter experts to check for factual accuracy. These are sometimes called Amber Reviews.
- Identifying from the narrative opportunity to enhance the bid by providing diagrams, graphs and other forms of visual evidence.
- Refining the responses following feedback from the Amber Reviews ahead of presenting the draft bid to a wider team within your company who will be responsible for approving its content. These are sometimes called Red Reviews.
- Final polishing of the narrative ahead of a final sign-off by your management team and its submission to you client (Gold Reviews).
The process is tailored to your organisation and the complexity of the bid. For smaller bids, we will offer therefore something more light touch.
Our experience in Medical, Health and Community Care Bid Writing
The following provides an overview of the types of healthcare bids we have supported.
It is becoming more common to contract out specialist services. For example one of our clients provides neurophysiology for the NHS
Primary and secondary healthcare bid writing
Primary healthcare is normally the first point of contact patients have with the healthcare system and include GPs, dentists, opticians and pharmacists. Patients who require specialist care may then be referred for secondary healthcare treatment, normally in a clinic or hospital.
The NHS lets both primary and secondary healthcare contracts with the private sector and we have successfully supported clients bidding to provide both types of services. They include the provision of GPs, nurses, opticians, and pharmacies; in-patient facilities in prisons and detention centres; and specialist neurophysiology services for hospitals.
Other related bids have included facilities management (e.g. buildings management and cleaning), disposal of clinical waste, and catering for patients with a wide range of dietary, religious and cultural needs.
Patient transport bid writing
The type of transport used for patients varies according to their needs, from emergency ambulances to non-clinical vehicles.
Bids we have prepared for clients include routine non-emergency transport, for example, taking patients to and from hospital clinics where they are not able to drive themselves or use public transport. We have also successfully prepared bids for medical repatriation on chartered and scheduled flights for those with acute medical conditions. These bids have included the provision of vehicles, doctors, nurses, paramedics, medication and other medical equipment required to transfer patients safely. They also require a clear demonstration of careful planning, extensive engagement with stakeholders such as airlines and airport operators, as well as a demonstration of the complexities of managing a person’s needs overseas or at 30,000 feet.
Many emergency and non-emergency ambulances are provided by the private sector under contract to the NHS
With an ageing population, more and more community services are being contracted by Local Authorities and the NHS
Community Care Bid Writing
The Government, local authorities, police and other agencies let community care contracts of a diverse nature. They range from the provision of care homes, through to home help, and support for those with addictions. With an ageing population, the number of community contracts has been rising and are likely to continue to do so as demand increases over the coming years.
We have successfully supported a number of clients bidding for community contracts. For example, we recently secured funding for a charity in Kent to provide cognitive behavioural therapy to homeless men and women with mental health issues. We also helped clients in the South West and in the West Midlands successfully win contracts to provide support and treatment to people abusing drugs and alcohol as part of a wider programme of addressing the revolving door of offending behaviour driven by their addiction.
Mobile first aid and first response services bid writing
Organisers of major public events such as football matches, airshows, and concerts provide first aid and first response services in partnership with local NHS Trusts. These services treat people on site as far as possible who have been taken unwell or who have an accident at the event. By doing so, the NHS saves valuable resources as people are diverted away from hospital. These mobile services are often doctor led, supported by nurses, paramedics and healthcare assistants.
In many cases, the NHS and event organisers contract with private medical companies to provide these valuable services. They often require contractors to provide their own mobile facilities where they can triage and treat patients, staff, communications, vehicles, drugs, and equipment.
We have successfully worked with clients who specialise in providing mobile first aid response services to bid for such contracts, most recently at the 2017 Great Yarmouth Airshow.
Organisers of major events contract first aid services to treat casualties on site. Our bid writers have helped clients win such contracts and grow their business.