Mobiles on the Ward – Maybe

The Department of Health has finally caved in to public pressure and the weight of evidence to agree that mobile phones can be used in hospitals, except in the vicinity of some specialist equipment.

On the other hand, that comes in the form of a statement from Health minister Andy Burnham who said there was now “no reason” for an outright ban on mobiles in hospitals. In practice individual NHS trusts will be able to operate their own policies, and since several are locked into long-term exclusive contracts with in-house hospital phone systems providers it’s un likely that every patient will now be able to use their mobile immediately in the wards.

Ofcom has investigated the cost of making calls via the two leading service providers, Patientline and Premier Managed Payphones, and has reported its concerns.

The BMJ has reported that mobiles affect only 4% of medical devices at a distance of 1m, and mobile phones have been allowed into Irish hospitals for years with no obvious ill effects.

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