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Health Regulatory Commission in offing in Bengal

PTI | Kolkata |

The West Bengal government on Wednesday said it has decided to set up a Health Regulatory Commission to monitor the functioning of private hospitals and nursing homes in and around the city.

The decision to form the commission was taken following complaints of alleged over-charging of patients and negligence in their treatment.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced this after over an hour-long meeting with the representatives of top private hospitals and nursing homes situated in and around the city.

"We have decided to set up a West Bengal Health Regulatory Commission which will be monitoring the billing and performance of private hospitals and nursing homes," she said.

The meeting was called by Banerjee, who is also the Health Minister, after a number of complaints poured in at the health department from different sections, including top leaders and MLAs, alleging that private hospitals and nursing homes were charging patients exorbitantly and negligent in the treatment.

A bill in this regard would be placed in the assembly on March 3 during the next session, Banerjee also announced.

The commission will have 10-members, comprising a former chief justice, health experts, principal secretary of the Health Department, representatives of hospitals and patients, who are the consumers, Banerjee said.

The regulatory commission will submit its report to the chief minister every month, she added.

The state was already planning to amend the West Bengal Clinical Act, the Chief Minister said, adding it should be made "strong" and the amendment would be brought on March 3 in the assembly.

"People must keep this in mind that the state government will extend full support to those doing good work but it will take action against those who are not performing well," she said.

In the meeting, Banerjee also pulled up the representatives of top private medical facilities and held them responsible for charging patients excessively, negligence in treatment, keeping patients in ICUs and on ventilators for long periods without justification and not releasing dead bodies if the bills were not settled.