SMS is the new black

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Mobile phones to be allowed in hospitals

Posted by Admin on January 7, 2009

The ban on mobile phones in hospitals is likely to be lifted soon according to this report on the BBC. The move is after the Department of Health update its guidance on mobile usage. Certain areas within hospitals and use at certain times may still be banned so as not to affect sensitive equipment and to respect patient privacy and peace and quiet.

My favourite quote from the article on the BBC is this one from Michael Summers, vice-chairman of the Patients’ Association:

“There may be some areas, in certain operating theatres, where there is machinery but of course if you were having an operation you’re not going to be using the telephone.”

But he goes on to say that, “in the average ward there is absolutely no reason why you can’t use it … provided that you’re discreet and that you don’t upset someone close to you.”

I think this is a good move. For most people the rules about not using phones is something they don’t really understand and often break – many times unwittingly. Just like on planes, the arguments about phones affecting the equipment no longer stands up – I think that on average 7 phones are left on on each flight, so they can’t cause that much damage.

In fact, the use of mobiles in hospital is a similar issue to the use of phones on planes. The desire (or even need in some cases) to keep in touch is very strong and most people want to be able to call or text. However, the annoyance factor of being next to a ‘bad’ phone user (loud, obnoxious, annoying ringtone etc) for a whole flight, or even worse a long stay in hospital must be excruciating.

While I think relaxing the rules is a good thing, I wonder if the number of phone related injuries while in hospital will increase.

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