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Restrictions on mobile phone use eased in NHS hospitals

Hospital-wide mobile phone bans should be lifted, according to the Department of Health.

New Department of Health guidance instructs hospitals across England to consider giving patients, staff and visitors the 'widest possible use of mobile phones' as long as it does not interfere with equipment or the privacy of others.

The guidance also states that areas where phones should not be used should be clearly indicated so that patients and staff are fully aware.

It warns that mobile phones should continue to be restricted in areas where critical care equipment susceptible to electro magnetic interference is used.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: ‘Mobile 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,’ he added.


Readers' comments (3)

  • I am in my third year as a student nurse in England. For at least two years mobile phones have been in use on general wards with the permission of the ward manager. I am somewhat surprised to find this is a news item today!

    I have not witnessed many problems with the use of mobile phones. Occasionally patients can be unthinking and talk continuously but a subtle word from a trained nurse usually stops this. If patients are considerate and there is no risk to equipment or a treat to a peaceful environment for other patients, I do not see that the use of mobile phones has been a problem. Their use allows patients to keep in contact with family and friends and does not cost as much as the pay phones currently installed for patient use. The cost of these is outrageous so these providers may now have to rethink their prices.

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  • Working in an A&E in the USA, I am in favour of the ban continuing. Patients come in with support people whose phones ring constantly, many will try to talk as I do a health interview, give information, and as I am giving discharge instructions.
    Patients using a cell is not the problem, its the inconsiderate "support' peoplpe who think they need to broadcast the events of the A&E adventure to all their top 100 friends.


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  • Patients could be provided with a telephone whilst in hospital if necessary but relatives should not be allowed to use there own mobiles. I find it offensive and intrusive when i am trying to care for a sick patient and someone is using a mobile. It is an added distraction and could also be potentially a breach of confidentiality if someone is passing on information regarding the activities and treatments of the patients in the ward, never mind the staff and doctors. People are often ignorant and lack understanding of hospital business and the progress of an illness and have a mistaken impression of what is going on.

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