The Health Secretary has ordered an urgent independent review into the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) alleged "bullying culture".
The review follows the claim that CQC board members have been prevented from raising concerns over whether its chief executive should remain in her post.
In an unprecedented move, Andrew Lansley has appointed 'outsider' Gill Rider, President of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), to lead the investigation.
Last month, CQC board member Kay Sheldon slammed Chief Executive Cynthia Bower and Chair Dame Jo Williams for prioritising "reputation-management and personal survival" over patient safety in her testimony at the MidStaffs inquiry.
Upon raising the notion that Bower should step down from her position, Sheldon claimed she was told the regulator "did not need a high-profile sacking at this time".
Sheldon also criticised the CQC for withholding 'key' information from the board and for making decisions without its approval.
"We have ordered a review to quickly establish the facts around how Kay Sheldon's raising of concerns about the CQC were handled," a spokesperson from the Department of Health told MiP in statement.
The DH said the government's review will focus on the handling of Sheldon's concerns and not on the quality of the CQC's leadership and function.