Historically, the United Kingdom Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has seen a steady increase in its annual budget, with the NHS being allocated the largest majority of more than £155.1 billion in the 2022/23 financial year. 

Of these funds, the largest part thereof is used on day-to-day services, with the majority being allocated to staff costs and provider costs. However, public contracts and procurement have become a vital source for the DHSC and NHS, and during the 2021/22 financial year, this sector received the second-highest budget allocation

As demand for public health care services will continue to grow in the coming years, as more constituents look to access primary health care and more of the population steps into retirement, procurement contracts will become an increasingly valuable opportunity for companies and organisations in the private sector. 

A review of tenders and proposals 

Now that your business is looking to write a bid for a healthcare tender, it’s important to understand how the procurement system works, and what the difference is between a tender and a Request for Proposal (RFP).

For starters, in the United Kingdom, healthcare tenders or NHS tenders are known as public sector contracts, to request the possibility of buying goods, work or services from a private entity. 

Tenders form the foundation of the procurement process and are often also known as tendering. While these terms may be used interchangeably, they all boil down to the same thing. 

On the other hand, a Request for Proposal (RFP) is a forward-looking document that sets out the terms for negotiation and is used by public entities to solicit proposals from private companies. 

While we may have something similar here in the UK, in other places in the world, such as the United States, RFPs are used to describe what a public department’s requirements may be from private suppliers and the possible terms and conditions that will be adapted in the contract. 

In both countries, the RFP process is mainly used to help solicit potential private companies, to ensure that eligible companies that meet the requirements will apply for the public contract. 

Writing a winning healthcare proposal 

To win healthcare tenders can be immensely complex, and there’s a good chance that a procurement officer, with little knowledge about your business will review your proposal for the public contract. Thus, it’s important that you follow through with all the requirements set out in the contract when writing a proposal or bid. 

Source contracts or tenders

At the very least, you should already have accessed available healthcare contracts or a healthcare tender. In case you haven’t, then you can use the HCI Opportunity Search portal to find any new or available healthcare tenders. This is the very first step, and you will need to ensure that you provide the necessary search criteria, such as location, budget, industry, and keywords. 

Pay attention to key requirements 

Once you’ve found a possible contract, you will then need to investigate the contract, before you can write your proposal. Make sure that you pay attention to the specifications of the contract, including industry, contract availability requirements, and budget allocation. 

Often, smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will bid for smaller contracts, with less budget allocation. This is advised for any organisation that is new to the healthcare sector to ensure that they can fulfil all the necessary specifications before moving on to bigger contract opportunities. 

You can also consider healthcare bids or NHS contracts provided by local authorities, which can be found on a tender search portal, or even with NHS England.

Compose a method statement 

After carefully reviewing the contract, start by composing a method statement. In your method statement, you will clearly need to highlight how you will fulfil requirements and how you will meet your obligations. You can highlight key elements that were used in the contract question or statement as part of your method statement. 

Respond to all sections 

As part of the process, ensure that you give responses to all sections in the proposal. Make sure to give clarity in each response. Additionally, you can make use of a healthcare tender writer or request insight from a professional on bid writing for healthcare tenders. 

Highlight unique selling points

Don’t only highlight what you can do for buyers, but rather give procurement reviewers a clear indication of how you will fulfil these duties, what unique features your organisation has, as opposed to competitors within the healthcare industry, and what the potential outcomes and benefits of the contract will be if awarded to your business. 

Give a background of experience 

For healthcare tenders, be sure to highlight the experience you may have. Make sure that you give a breakdown of your background and any other possible public healthcare or NHS England tenders you may have applied to or completed in the past. Service users will require you to provide sufficient information on the exact requirements of previous experience and a deep understanding of the tendering process.

Set clear goals 

Having clear goals can help you better understand how to write a healthcare proposal and win healthcare tenders. This is not only an important element for the physical proposal, but can also be used in a personal capacity. 

Consider what your organisation is looking to achieve with this proposal and contract, and how that will help scale your business. Create a clear forward-looking picture of what you want out of the contract, and if needed, approach a healthcare tender writer to compile a list of valuable goals you can include in the proposal. 

What to avoid when writing a healthcare proposal 

Not every proposal you submit will be accepted, and to avoid this from continuously happening, here are some things you want to look out for when bid writing for healthcare tenders. 

Not meeting requirements

Make sure that your organisation meets all the requirements outlined in the tender. Take enough time to carefully review all the specifications. 

Missing key points in the questions 

Another thing many businesses tend to overlook is the key points in the question. Read the questions several times to get an idea of what is being asked, and how you can answer this question.

Lack of information 

Not giving enough information throughout the proposal can be a massive mistake you’re making. Be sure to give thorough feedback, and that you answer each question with the necessary information. Use question keywords throughout your methodology. 

Providing complicated responses 

While giving sufficient information is crucial, overcomplicating responses, or providing irrelevant information can also negatively impact the outcomes of the proposal. Don’t give more information than what is required, and make sure that what you are providing them with is valuable and highlights the unique features of your business. 

Lack of data 

Not having sufficient data to back your claims, or your proposal is another mistake you want to avoid, using data will help provide more evidence for your methodology. Make sure that you access and review data from trusted and reliable sources, the HCI data tools will help give you industry insight into market trends and historical spending analysis. Writing a healthcare proposal often requires enough investment to ensure you meet all the necessary specifications, but more importantly, that you provide procurement officers with sufficient information. 

Be clear in your responses, and make use of a healthcare tender writer when needed. While the market can often be competitive, highlight key value metrics in your proposal that will help you stand out against other providers and small businesses.  

Most important to remember is to create a clear goal for yourself and your business, this will give you better guidance of what you’re doing, but more importantly, how you can deliver on your proposal promises. 

With public demand continuously growing, and providing new business opportunities by awaring winning tenders and social care contracts, you as a supplier will need to ensure that you meet the desired quality standards needed to support local authority, and build towards an integrated healthcare sector.