The implementation of these systems will support the NHS with the continuation of eye care services during COVID-19, and transform how services are delivered in the future by:
- enabling primary eye care clinicians to send electronic referrals
- supporting secondary care services to manage referrals and patient care more efficiently
- facilitating the sharing of images and clinical findings
- developing and strengthening shared care pathways across primary, community and secondary eye care services
The DPS allows organisations to procure an Electronic Eyecare Referral System that links primary and secondary care providers.
The aim is to enable a quicker, easier and more informed procurement process for NHS organisations. It is managed by the National Commercial and Procurement Hub (The Hub), who provide expert advice and guidance to NHS organisations. The Hub is commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement from South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit.
DPS date and duration
January 2021 to November 2024.
The DPS is a live process and suppliers can apply or withdraw throughout the DPS term.
Guidance for using the DPS
Buying services through the DPS
1. What is the Electronic Eyecare Referral System DPS
This DPS is an electronic system through which NHS organisations can procure Electronic Eyecare Referral Systems by inviting tenders from providers that have been admitted to the DPS.
It is run in two stages. Firstly, all suppliers are nationally assessed against set criteria and admitted onto the DPS. NHS organisations can therefore be assured suppliers on the DPS have been tested for their capability to deliver against the national specification.
The second stage of the DPS process is to run a mini competition to assess bids on price and quality criteria to award a contract. NHS organisations will invite all suppliers listed on the established DPS to compete for specific local contracts.
Mini competitions are mandatory, enabling more bespoke requirements to be met.
2. Support services
One of the benefits of using the Electronic Eyecare Referral System DPS is access to support services from the National Commercial and Procurement Hub (the Hub), who will provide expert advice and guidance. The Hub is commissioned by NHS England and Improvement from South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit.
NHS organisations can also choose the Hub to fully manage the mini competition on their behalf. For more information contact email@example.com
3. Who can use the DPS
All NHS organisations can use the DPS.
4. Geographic coverage
Available to any NHS organisation in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
5. Various provider types
A broad range of suppliers, from small to large corporate companies.
Running a mini competition
Step 1: Request access
You will need to request access to the DPS, including the suite of documents, in order to set up your mini competition. Requests to access the DPS should be made to the Hub by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 2: Identify needs and develop a local level specification
Make sure you have the advice of someone who will use the service or buying specialists and technical experts in order to list your ‘must-haves’, ‘wants’ and critical success factors. You will need to consider the budget available, the technical and procurement requirements of the project and the criteria on which your choice will be based. The hub is available to help guide you through this stage of the process.
When establishing your local requirements, it is essential to define what it is you want to achieve. Without this key information it is difficult for you to define (and others to understand) what you want the key outcomes to be.
It is important to develop an overall statement of requirements by engaging key stakeholders to agree the specification. When developing your specification, it is recommended that national supporting guidance is considered.
The weighting and how you structure questions are up to you. You may want to consider the following example:
|Cost and pricing||30%|
|Ongoing support and product development||20%|
|Front line user and IT deployment requirements||15%|
Step 3: Finalise specification
Your final, detailed specification will describe your exact requirements to enable suppliers to accurately submit bids. An effective specification provides an unambiguous picture of what is required. It ensures consistency and uniformity and enables quality to be measured against the agreed (and specified) criteria.
Step 4: Complete mini competition documentation
When you are ready to send your requirements to the approved suppliers, you will need to complete the competition documentation, which comprises:
ITT (Invitation to Tender)
- Requirements specification
- Financial model template
- Draft contract
The template documentation will be supplied by the Hub on request: email@example.com
NHS organisations must allow suppliers time to prepare and submit their bids. By law the minimum time for bids to be returned is 10 days. You may wish to give more than 10 days where your requirement is more complex. This must be proportional to what you are asking of the suppliers and the complexity of your requirement.
You should include precise detail of your procurement timeline in the documentation to ensure suppliers are clear on their deadlines. You will also need to tell the suppliers how you will be evaluating their bids, clearly describing your evaluation model including criteria and their relative importance. The most important aspects should attract the highest weightings.
Step 5: Issue mini competition documentation to approved suppliers
Step 6: Evaluate
During the bid evaluation, the principles of transparency and equity apply. Good record keeping is an essential element. It is also vital that you evaluate the bid strictly in accordance with your published award criteria and keep an audit trail of evaluation and moderation processes.
Step 7: Award and contract documentation
Following evaluation, a successful bidder will be identified. The next stage is to award the contract.
Before a contract is signed it is essential that NHS organisations undertake a due diligence process. This is to provide assurance that the proposed solution will be deliverable. Once the due diligence step has been completed, a call-off order form will be used to complete the process. The Hub can provide support with contract documents.
Step 8: Report
It is necessary for the Hub to have a record of all contracts awarded under the DPS, to satisfy the legal obligations on publishing award notices. Where NHS organisations undertake the mini competition process themselves and enter into a call-off contract, they must complete and return the data capture form, available from and to be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is not required where the Hub provides the ‘fully managed’ mini competition process on behalf of the NHS organisations.
Step 9: Contract form
Contracts awarded via a mini competition are between the buying organisation and the awarded supplier. They are entered into once an order has been placed (following successful completion of a mini competition).
To ensure robustness, award contracts must be signed by a recognised legal contracting authority. Within an STP or ICS this could be a lead CCG with associate CCGs.
The contract length is normally 12 to 18 months. You are able to include contract extension options. Extending the contract will require the right approvals.
A template form contract is provided as part of the DPS document suite. The template contract is focused on the NHS standard terms and conditions for the provision of services (contract version). The Hub can provide support in completing the contract documentation.
Templates and documentation
The Hub is commissioned to provide support for NHS organisations with the mini competition process. To enhance this, a suite of template documents have been developed to support buying organisations to procure Electronic Eyecare Referral Systems, through the DPS, in a standardised way.
Requests to access the DPS (including the suite of documents) should be made to email@example.com
List of suppliers
Operational Lead: Ian Cooper firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 0161 274 9734
ART Healthcare Software Ltd (psHEALTH)
Operational Lead: Julie Bjune email@example.com
Telephone: 0345 50 50 120
Capri Healthcare Ltd
Operational Lead: Krishna Thakur
Operational Lead: Valleesh Athreya
Community Health and Eyecare
Operational Lead: Ashle Whittle
East Midlands Medical Services (EMMS)
Operational lead: Adam Holliday firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 07446 019 842
Evolutio Care Innovations Ltd
Operational lead: Dougie Mason email@example.com
Telephone: 0203 780 7860
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Provider Company Limited (LLR PCL)
Operational lead: Danah Cadman firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 07908 569 966
Monmedical Ltd (Cinapsis)
Operational lead: Carl Woodroffe email@example.com
Telephone: 07903 360 550
Primary Eyecare Services Limited
Operational Lead: Claire Dickens firstname.lastname@example.org
Operational Lead: Dharmesh Patel email@example.com
Telephone: 0161 518 5817
Operational lead: Ekta Chandwani firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 0238 027 7040
Topcon GB Medical Ltd
Operational lead: Steve Eaton email@example.com
Telephone: 07943 804 445
Operational Lead: Toby Bisco firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone: 0208 057 88 77
Vantage Diagnostics Limited
Operational lead: David Ezra email@example.com
Telephone: 07966 478 917