Hospitals told to soften mobile phone ban

The Department of Health today issued new safety guidelines that encourage hospitals to ease up on previous blanket bans of mobile phone use.

Instead, they should offer patients, staff and visitors wider access, so long as such use does not cause electro magnetic interference to critical care equipment nor disturb other people.

"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," said Health Minister Ben Bradshaw in a statement.

"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."

Areas where mobile use remains prohibited should be clearly signposted so that there can be no misunderstandings.

Trusts will still be responsible for making decisions regarding mobile phone use affecting local hospitals. They have been reminded to fully consider the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidelines which provide in-hospital mobile phone safety recommendations before reaching their policy conclusion.

"The MHRA recognises that mobile phones provide a practical way for patients to keep in touch with friends and relatives during their hospital stay," said Clive Bray, director of device technology and safety at the MHRA.

"We welcome the clarification in guidance on the use of mobile phones in non critical areas."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.