The government will lift the ban on the use of mobile phones in hospitals this spring, the BBC reports.
Up to now, mobile phones have been banned from hospitals because of fears they could interfere with medical equipment.
But the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said last year that mobile use should only be restricted where specialist equipment was used. And the government now says NHS trusts themselves will be able to formulate their own mobile phone strategies for patients and staff.
The government is expected to recommend that mobiles should not be used near critical medical equipment, such as that found in intensive care and baby monitoring units.
News of the government’s position comes soon after research by a US hospital group showed that mobile phones posed no threat to hospital equipment. The Mayo Clinic said its tests showed that normal use of mobile phones caused no interference with patient care equipment.
Mayo conducted 300 interference tests run over five months, including turning mobiles on and off near medical kit, and reported no trouble with the equipment. But the clinic did report potential interference problems between CD players and electrocardiographic (ECG) devices, and between shop entrance alarms and people fitted with pacemakers and defibrillators.
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