The West Bengal Health Regulatory Commission, set up to monitor private hospitals, will start functioning within a week and a website will be in place for lodging online complaints, one of its members said on Friday.

"It will start working in a week. We will also consider online complaints," panel member M.L. Saha said.

Senior Calcutta High Court Justice Ashim Kumar Roy will officiate as chairman of the 13-member high-powered commission that has the status of a civil court. It is empowered to issue summons in case of a dispute.

Consumer Affairs Department Secretary Anil Verma will be its Vice-Chairman.

Apart from the Chairman and the Vice-Chairman, the other 11 members include renowned doctors, a representative of nurses, Director of Medical Education, a nominee of Health Department, and two police officers. Politicians have not been included.

The commission, was proposed to be set up through The West Bengal Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation and Transparency) Bill, 2017. 

The Act, passed by the assembly on March 3, aims to bring in transparency, end harassment of patients and check medical negligence in private hospitals and nursing homes. 

All other private medical set-ups – irrespective of whether they are registered or not — come under its ambit.

The penal measures range between compensation and scrapping licences of erring physicians/hospitals. 

The commission may also put the offender behind bars for up to three years. It can also order trying the offender under the Indian Penal Code, including under sections pertaining to culpable homicide in case a patient dies due to severe negligence.