Hospitals asked to allow mobile phones

By staff

Hospitals should adopt a more liberal approach to the use of mobiles, new guidance from the Department of Health (DoH) has suggested.

The proposals call on NHS trusts to consider giving patients, staff and visitors the widest possible use of mobile phones, when it does not interfere with equipment or the privacy of others.

Mobile phone use should continue to be restricted from areas where critical care equipment susceptible to electromagnetic interference is used and should be clearly identified, the DoH states.

Announcing the new guidance, 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.”

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency said it welcomed the new clarification in guidance on mobile phone usage and appreciated they provided a practical way for patients to keep in touch with friends and relatives during hospital stays.