The Conservatives have questioned why appointments to the new super-regulator will be made by the government instead of the NHS Appointments Commission.

The Health and Social Care Bill proposes that the secretary of state appoints the chair and members of the Care Quality Commission, which will replace the Healthcare Commission, Commission for Social Care Inspection and Mental Health Act Commission in April 2009.

In a Commons debate with health secretary Alan Johnson, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley pointed out the chair of the Healthcare Commission was currently appointed by the Appointments Commission. 'Why is he reducing the independence in the appointments process?' he said.

Mr Johnson said heading the super-regulator was 'a far more fundamental position' and required accountability to Parliament.