A total of about 15 private hospitals across the city may soon set up small isolation wards of two to four beds each, in response to a call from the state government to help tackle the spread of swine flu.
"We will provide H1N1 vaccines for doctors and paramedical staff who work at such isolation facilities, if required," said BMC executive health officer private hospitals .
The total number of swine flu cases reported in the city has already touched 374 this month, including 18 Mumbaiites, including eight children, who tested positive on Saturday.
With the monsoon being conducive to viral transmission, experts have warned many more could be infected.
Private hospitals have also been asked to keep critical swine flu patients in a separate section of their Intensive Care Units, to protect other patients in the ICU.
Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Sarvaree Gokhale met representatives from private hospitals on Saturday.
While Pune hospital heads were unable to make it to Mantralaya because of the downpour, their counterparts from Mumbai hospitals such as PD Hinduja and Wockhardt were present at the meeting.
“They were requested to set up isolation wards,” said Ambe.
During the first wave of swine flu last year, the government had roped in about 18 hospitals, including Kokilaben Ambani, Breach Candy and Bombay Hospital, to help treat patients.
The hospitals discontinued their isolation centres when the number of reported cases plummeted last November.
The same hospitals have been requested to set up isolation centres this year.
So far, only the civic-run Kasturba, KEM, Sion and Nair hospitals have isolation wards.
However, all doctors and hospitals could treat swine flu patients since Tamiflu, the medication for H1N1, has been available with chemists on prescription since end of last year.