The news that Cynthia Bower has been appointed as chief executive of the Care Quality Commission provides reassurance that, together with Baroness Young as chair, there will be strong leadership to take the regulatory agenda forward.

An early issue for the emerging CQC team should be the future of the English patient survey programme. The next stage review has placed responding to patients' experiences at the centre of the new drive for quality, and the national surveys should provide a strong foundation on which to build.

However, with the regulator in transition, while at the same time rapid action on quality is expected, there is a danger the patient survey programme's value will be neglected, and that other parts of the system will reinvent the wheel.

The Picker Institute advises an international collaboration under the OECD on how it might compare responsiveness to patients across developed countries. This shows that the English survey programme, which has gathered evidence from over 1.5 million patients, is the best system in the world.

It now needs to develop to meet new challenges - such as taking account of social care experiences - and to contribute a reliable set of comparative data into health minister Lord Darzi's new quality frameworks. We will look to the commission to take strong leadership to initiate these debates.

Don Redding, head of policy, Picker Institute