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Practical Commissioning's Jargon Buster explains the meaning of the term 'CQUIN'.

The Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) payment system. Originally set out in the Department of Health's High Quality Care for All report, this is a national framework for locally agreed quality improvement schemes. It makes a proportion of hospital income dependant on the standard of care and is intended to put improvement and innovation at the heart of negotiations between commissioners and providers.

First introduced in the current financial year, 2009/10, it was set at 0.5% of contract value. Next year this will rise to 1.5%. It is not new money – PCTs are required to make this funding available from their allocations.

Providers of acute, ambulance, community, mental health and learning disability services using national contracts must agree a full CQUIN scheme with their commissioners (one scheme per provider). They also apply to the independent sector and Foundation Trusts on national standard contracts.

Schemes are required to include measurable goals in three areas: safety, effectiveness and patient experience. In 2010/11 CQUIN schemes for acute providers must include two specified national goals on venous thromboembolism and improving the response to the personal needs of patients. But the number of goals included within any scheme should be determined locally. See and go to High Quality Care For All/ Commissioning for Quality and Innovation for more details.