At HealthBid we have plenty of experience in writing and reviewing APMS bids for our clients. With a large number of GPs operating under this type of arrangement, it is vital that primary care organisations understand how to write a great bid to either retain their current contract or look to expand into a new practice. Here are HealthBid’s three top tips for winning this type of work.
1. Be Organised
The number one issue we see with losing bids is that the bidding organisation was not organised. Organisation is not just a question of getting the bid in on time – although of course, this is important – it is also good preparation, and giving the bid enough time to be reviewed and refined. Therefore, there are some key dates to consider:-
Before the bid is released – gather key documents that you can be sure you will be asked for. These include evidence of your CQC status, your business continuity plan, your accounts and other documents commonly asked for as part of the tender process. Identify who will write the bid – including considering outsourcing. Make sure that you understand how the commissioner’s portal works.
Within 1 week of the release – have a meeting to agree how you will deliver the service, with clinicians, managers, and your finance team. Make sure that everyone has read and understood what is being asked for. Go back to the commissioner with any questions you have.
No later than 1 week before submission – complete draft one, and have a review team that sits and reads it thoroughly, suggesting amendments. Again, this can be outsourced to give an external opinion on your work
No later than 1 day before submission – upload your final draft, along with attachments. Almost all portals allow you to amend at any point before the deadline, so you still have enough time for last-minute changes. However, uploading the day before submission means that your bid will not be interrupted by any portal hiccups.
2. Understand Innovation in GP Services
Commissioners are always looking for interesting ideas, and bids are often won or lost based on the score on innovation questions. Be bold – the contract will be for many years, and you don’t want to look like you are standing still.
There are lots of great resources describing primary care innovations online – this document from NHS England shows some of the great work that is out there in practice, practice-based examples – www.england.nhs.uk/south/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2015/12/examples-innovation-gp.pdf
3. Don’t Make Assumptions about your Competition
Whenever we write a bid for a client, we always assume we are up against multiple, well organised, innovative competitors. Why? Because it keeps us on our toes! We advise you to do the same. You may know that your competitors run poor services, or that they do not have a good reputation for innovation. However, the commissioners do not necessarily know this, and your competitors certainly won’t be telling them! By assuming you are up against a strong bidder, it will help you to keep your bid sharp and focused.
We’ve pulled together a selection of resources that will help you ready yourself to bid on our Downloads page, including a selection of technical APMS ITT questions and a sample specification document from an APMS bid we recently worked on, check them out here > www.healthbid.co.uk/downloads