MPs should have the power to vet senior non-executive appointments to NHS bodies in much the same way as US congressional committees hold 'confirmation hearings', according to an MPs' report.

The report by the Commons select committee on public administration says there should be no power to veto appointments, but there should be a right to question potential appointees and publish findings.

The government rejected the idea of confirmation hearings in its evidence to the committee inquiry into quangos.

But the MPs argue that the threat of a grilling by the committee would deter applicants who had not 'thoroughly absorbed the public service ethic'.

Technically, the committee's definition of quango includes trusts and health authorities.

It is unclear how MPs would propose to monitor appointments to more than 600 'quangos' in the Department of Health alone.

See news focus, pages 9-11.

Quangos . Select Committee on Public Administration. The Stationery Office.£22.