The purpose of this guidance is to make clear the arrangements for mobile phone
use contained in the trust's Electromagnetic Interference Policy 2004.
It does not replace that policy.
Why has the trust changed its mobile phone policy?
The trust recognises that there is a balance between the advantages of
using mobile phones and their risk to patients by affecting the proper
use of medical equipment, such as heart monitors and infusion pumps.
However, the trust also appreciates that patients who are ill need
rest and quiet and that the use of mobile phones can disturb patients.
How do mobile phones interfere with medical equipment?
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has published
work that shows that mobile phones have the potential to interfere with
medical equipment. This is demonstrated when use of a conventional phone
near a mobile phone leads to clicking noises from the mobile. This happens
even when your mobile phone is on standby. The clicks are caused by microwave
signals from the mobile phone being "picked up" in the electronic circuits of
the conventional phone. The same thing can happen with medical equipment.
However, in medical equipment, "pick-up" might be accepted as commands,
and make changes that are dangerous for the patient. The effect reduces
the further away a mobile phone is from medical equipment.
Note: if your mobile phone does not cause clicks on a normal telephone line
please do not think that it is safe: it is not - it might still interfere with medical equipment.
What should staff and patients do?
We expect everyone who carries a mobile phone - patients, staff,
visitors and contractors - to use it responsibly. This means you
should not use your mobile phone within 2 meters of medical devices.
It also means that everyone should respect patient confidentiality
and show consideration for others by not causing a disturbance.
Where can I use my mobile phone?
You should not have your mobile phone switched on in wards or clinical areas.
The ward sister, charge nurse or manager of the area may permit use,
depending on the circumstances.
You can use your mobile phone in public and communal areas such as hospital
entrances, the coffee shop, and on the concourses outside wards -
look for the green mobile phone signs. However, you should not use your
phone within 2 metres of a patient who is connected to medical equipment.
I’ve seen clinical staff using mobile phones - is this safe?
Sometimes you will see clinical staff carrying mobile phones. This is so
they may be contacted in an emergency. They are aware of the risks of
using mobile phones in a hospital and if their phone affects a nearby
medical device they can respond appropriately.
Cordless telephones connected to the hospital switchboard are also used.
They are much lower power than mobile phones and are not considered to be
an important risk. They should not, however, be used very close to medical devices.
If a member of staff asks you to switch off your mobile phone,
or move to a safer area, please do so.
Our staff have a difficult job. Please do not make it harder by not
following their requests. The trust operates a Violence and Aggression
Policy which allows us to exclude anyone who is violent or aggressive.
Thank you for your cooperation