Hospitals in England should consider allowing more liberal use of
mobile phones, following new guidance issued today by the Department of Health.
The updated guidance indicates that NHS trusts should consider giving patients, staff and visitors the widest possible use of mobile phones where it does not interfere with equipment, the privacy of others or cause a nuisance.
The new guidance stipulates that mobile phone use should continue to be restricted in areas where critical care equipment susceptible to electro magnetic interference is used. Areas where phones should not be used should be clearly indicated so that patients and staff are fully aware.
Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: “Close support and comfort from loved ones when you are poorly in hospital is essential. Mobiles phones are commonplace in everyday life these days and people have told us that they’d like to be able to use their phones more in hospital to keep in touch.
“That’s why we’re keen to encourage sensible use in NHS hospitals where it is safe to do so, in addition to other services offered in hospitals such bedside payphones, TV and internet access.”
Decisions on appropriate usage of mobile phones are made locally by trusts and should take full account of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommendations on the safe use of mobile phones in hospitals.
Clive Bray, Director of Device Technology and Safety at the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said: “The MHRA recognises that mobile phones provide a practical way for patients to keep in touch with friends and relatives during their hospital stay. We welcome the clarification in guidance on the use of mobile phones in non critical areas.”
“Yes, in our hospital, we only forbid the use of mobile phones in critical work areas (ICU, operating theatre, radiology).” – Patrick De Groote, Waregem, Belgium