Cheshire and Merseyside NHS Trusts (C&M) have held a consortium contract for clinical waste with HealthTrust Europe (HTE) for approximately 9 years. In 2017, HTE commenced discussions with the consortium members to embark on a mini-competition procurement process for the renewal of their clinical waste contract.
HTE project managed and ran the procurement process over 10 months. Initially the requirement was for a sole supplier to provide clinical waste services to 13 NHS Authorities in the region for Acute, Mental Health Specialist and Community healthcare. Due to new hospitals being built in the region there was an additional requirement for Authorities to join the contract at varying times when services were needed. The awarded contract secured a further 3 years of supply at a cost neutral position for each member. The members retained the same pricing for an 8-year term and Key Performance Indicators were introduced which were fully aligned with all member requirements.
In recent years there has been an increase in the volume of clinical waste being produced. During the last 18 to 24 months, unforeseen issues in the supplier market, coupled with the effects of Brexit and the pandemic have resulted in:
- An increase in waste (in particular incinerated waste)
- A lack of infrastructure investment
- Intense competition for drivers due to decreased availability
- Missed collections leading to the build-up of waste at hospital sites
To address these challenges, the Chief Executives of the Trusts within the Cluster required a market review of the contract, so invited HTE to submit a proposal.
HTE recommended introducing a new contract offering 2 separate solutions – Lot 1 for Acute Trusts and Lot 2 for Mental Health and Community Trusts. This allowed the service requirements of each group to be catered for and removed the restrictions of the current framework agreement in relation to award structure and awarded suppliers. All suitable potential suppliers in the market, including new entrants, could then bid for the two contracts. We recognised that, whilst each Authority had specific, individual requirements, there is a strong open relationship between them all, and a requirement to be treated as one organisation.
HTE advertised the opportunity to potential suppliers through a Prior Interest Notification (PIN) as part of the pre-market engagement exercise prior to releasing a tender. This provided visibility of the requirements and timescales to suppliers, enabling them to make informed recommendations and propose possible solutions prior to final requirements being set. This approach ensured the consortium received proposals from the most suitable suppliers and reduced clarification requests during the process. HTE and stakeholders from the Cluster presented to several suppliers who had expressed interest, inviting their feedback on the tender structure.
Following a Pre-Market Engagement meeting with suppliers, HTE representatives engaged in regular dialogue with the nominated stakeholder group for the Cluster. Tender documentation was drafted and provided to stakeholders for review, ensuring it represented their requirements. As part of our commitment to driving better services through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and SME strategies, the C&M Social Value requirements were adopted within the tender requirements.
HTE managed the tender process and evaluated the commercial elements of the bids. The Trust Members evaluated the technical elements and moderation sessions were held to conclude the scoring. The awarded suppliers from this process are Stericycle for Lot 1 and Sharpsmart for Lot 2. Implementation will take place during Q2, 2022. HTE will support the Trusts and awarded suppliers to ensure a smooth transition to the new contract. This includes the agreement of new KPIs, onboarding the new supplier (Sharpsmart) and refreshing the service offering provided by the incumbent supplier (Stericycle) to align with the new contract.