The standards required by trusts to receive incentive payments designed to drive innovation were “probably set too low”, NHS England’s innovation chief said last week.

Miles Ayling, the body’s director of innovation and service improvement, said innovation standards required under the commissioning for quality and innovation targets were achieved too easily by trusts.

“The bar was probably set too low in the first year. Most people passed the CQUIN and passed it comfortably,” he told a Westminster Health Forum event.

He added “there was not much point” in incentives if some organisations did not fail.

To qualify for CQUIN payments, trusts had to set out how they would meet targets set in the 2011 policy paper Innovation, Health and Wealth. Total CQUIN payments were worth up to 2.5 per cent of the value of NHS contracts in 2012-13.