Paying for Quality

Commissioning for quality and innovation (CQUIN) in England

25 January 2012
Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) is a contract which aims to pay for quality. This briefing tells you more about this initiative in England and sets out some principles to help guide views on what makes a ‘good’ CQUIN. 

The RCn supports initiatives which can help deliver safe, high quality care to patients. Nurses are able, as discussed in the example of pressure ulcers, to lead initiatives which are not only good for the patients, but also for the NHS to hep reduce the costs of avoidable ill health.

However, the precise role of specific financial incentives is controversial. We need to know more before we can wholeheartedly support CQUINs. This reflects the variety of CQUINs in use, as well as the limited evidence of their impact. We expect that some have enabled improvements, and rewarded those organisations and teams that have delivered those improvements.

However, there could be examples where CQUINs have not been used well. We will await to hear more from the national evaluation before we take a firm view.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute further, please email

Page last updated - 14/08/2015