Health select committee MPs have backed Baroness Young as a suitable candidate to chair the new Care Quality Commission.

They concluded she had the required "competence, independence and integrity" after a new-style public job interview last week.

Baroness Young, who is currently chief executive of the Environment Agency, told the committee: "I really want this job." But she admitted she felt the advertised£60,780 salary was "very low" and hoped to negotiate a higher wage with the Department of Health for the three-day-a-week role.

The CQC, due to start operating next year, will absorb the Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and Mental Health Act Commission.

Baroness Young said her first priority would be "getting the damn organisation up and running and making sure we don't lose the momentum of the three existing organisations".

The former health service manager answered MPs' fears that the voice of social care could be lost in the merger by admitting she had "limited knowledge" of the sector.

"The reality is I am going to have to learn a lot about social care," she said, but added she was passionate about effective regulation, describing herself as a "regulation nerd".

She said the new body must take "a strong evidence-based approach" to hospital-acquired infections, hinting the government's deep clean programme may not have been the best way to tackle superbugs.

"I think government's been struggling a bit, needing to find ways of reassuring people action has been taken," she said. "It's not necessarily about deep cleaning, it's about day-to-day processes and the way staff and visitors feel about hospital acquired infection."

Baroness Young also highlighted the role of NHS managers.

"There are issues about leadership in hospitals and if you look at how organisations perform less well than they should [it] genuinely comes down to the need for strong leadership at the top and the need for better management," she said.

She added the roles of the CQC and Monitor would need to be clarified, but she was clear Monitor should not take sole responsibility for foundation trust regulation.

She also said the CQC should have a role in the "quality assurance of the commissioning process".

Responding to concerns that other work will be put on hold while the CQC gets under way, she said it would be "crazy" simply to focus on setting up a new registration system.

A DH spokesperson said it would consider the committee's recommendation but could not say when an announcement would be made.

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