Published date: 9 July 2020

Closed early engagement

Closing date: 7 August 2020

Contract summary


  • Health and social work services - 85000000

Location of contract

South West

Procurement reference


Published date

9 July 2020

Closing date

7 August 2020

Contract is suitable for SMEs?


Contract is suitable for VCSEs?



This notice is placed as a Prior Information Notice (PIN) and relates to a pre-procurement market engagement questionnaire and event/s.

Due to the current contracts expiring, NHS England and NHS Improvement South West (The Commissioner) seeks to re-commission two Diabetic Eye Screening Programmes (DESP) to deliver screening to the eligible populations of Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (Lot 1) and the eligible population of Dorset (Lot 2) and invites expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced providers to provide the services in line with strict national standards and guidelines to eligible patients living and registered in the identified geographies.

The eligible population of both Lots includes patients over the age of 12 diagnosed with diabetes and registered with, or eligible to be registered with a GP, as well as individuals within prisons, secure units and the armed forces.

The aim of the DESP is to reduce the risk of sight loss amongst people with diabetes by the prompt identification and effective treatment if necessary of sight threatening diabetic retinopathy.

This will be achieved by delivering an evidence-based service that:
•Identifies the eligible population and ensures effective delivery with maximum coverage
•Is safe, effective, high quality, externally and independently monitored, and quality assured
•Leads to earlier detection, appropriate referral, effective treatment and improved outcomes
•Is delivered and supported by suitably trained, competent and qualified clinical and non-clinical staff who, where relevant, participate in recognised ongoing continuing medical education (CME), continuous professional development (CPD) and quality assurance (QA) schemes
•Has audit embedded in the service
•Works effectively with other stakeholders to ensure the care pathway is smooth and efficient.

There are three key elements of service delivery, namely:
•Call/recall for all people with diabetes invited for routine digital screening - this is currently undertaken on an annual basis but screening intervals are likely to extend to two years for people at low risk during the contract term in line with national guidance
•Digital surveillance where individuals need more frequent screening
•Slit lamp bio-microscopy (SLB) for those individuals where normal photography is inappropriate (e.g. those having cataracts).

Further information on the DESP is available at;

The contracts are due to commence on 1st April 2022.The contract term is yet to be confirmed.

The Services will be commissioned using the national service specification for DESP Services. The 20/21 national service specification, including Schedule 4 - Quality Requirements is available within the e-procurement system In-Tend. Some local tailoring is likely to be made to these documents for this contract, and published as part of the final procurement documentation.

More information


Additional text

The contract value has not yet been finalised. However, the current annual contract values for 2020/21, based upon achieving the minimum acceptable 75% uptake, are provided below for indicative purposes;
• Lot 1: Bath &North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire = £1,400,000
• Lot 2: Dorset = £1,300,000

These values are likely to reduce with anticipated national changes to screening frequency for low risk individuals during the contract term but will overtime build back up owing to the growth of people with diabetes. Provisional modelling of impact has been completed but this is subject to final guidance being published.

Following the impact of COVID19, the financial mechanism to be used for the contracts is under consideration, with tariff based, block and cost and volume contract approaches potential options.

The Commissioner seeks responses to a market engagement questionnaire. This will be followed by pre-procurement market engagement with potential providers in late Summer/Autumn, likely to consist of a virtual briefing event and 1:1 provider meetings, though arrangements are being confirmed. The aim of the engagement will be to provide an opportunity for providers to gain further understanding of the Commissioner's intentions and provide feedback to inform the final specification and procurement strategy. Details, including confirmed date/s, will be provided to those who express an interest.

Providers who are interested in attending, will need to register on the e-procurement system, In-Tend, available on the following link: 'express an interest' in the opportunity and submit a completed market engagement questionnaire (to the placeholder provided) by 12 noon 7th August 2020. The opportunity and questionnaire can be accessed via the 'current tenders' list on the In-Tend system.

On registration of the In-Tend system, please include at least two contacts to allow for access to the system in times of absence.

This exercise is being carried out by NHS South, Central & West Commissioning Support Unit on behalf of the Commissioners.

This notice is an information gathering exercise rather than a call for competition in its own right, and therefore publication or response does not commit NHS England and NHS Improvement or respondents to a future procurement, nor provide any process exemptions or preferential treatment to any parties expressing an interest. NHS England and NHS Improvement will not be liable for costs incurred by any interested party in participating in this exercise.

The services are healthcare services falling within Schedule 3 to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 ("the Regulations") which are not subject to the full regime of the Regulations, but is instead governed by the "Light Touch Regime" contained within Chapter 3, Section 7 of the Regulations

About the buyer

Contact name

Hannah Morley


South Plaza,Marlborough Street


Closing date: 7 August 2020