Page last updated at 18:45 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 19:45 UK

Hospital mobile ban scaled back

Woman on mobile phone
The ban will not be relaxed in all areas of the trust's hospitals

A health trust has relaxed its ban on use of mobile phones in hospitals after tests found they only affect medical equipment if very close to it.

The North East Wales NHS Trust said there were past concerns about possible interference to monitors.

But patients and visitors can now use mobiles providing they do not affect treatment or disturb other patients.

The rule will affect Wrexham Maelor and the trust's community hospitals and clinics across Flintshire and Wrexham.

However, the trust stressed the relaxation will be subject to strict conditions to ensure the welfare of other patients is not affected and to avoid disruption to any treatment.

Trust spokesman Andy Scotson said :"For many people mobile phones are an essential way to keep in contact with family and friends, and we want to help our patients keep in touch with loved ones while they are in hospital.

There is also a total ban on the taking of photos or video clips unless a member of staff has given permission for this
Trust spokesman Andy Scotson

"However, we also need to make sure that we don't allow other patients to be disturbed by this, and with many phones now also including cameras it is important that the privacy of fellow patients is not compromised.

Mr Scotson said there will be clear signs showing where phones can be used safely and in other areas they should we switched off.

He said they will insist that mobile phones are switched to silent mode inside the hospital and that people show courtesy to others by keeping noise levels down when talking.

Any requests from staff not to use a phone in a particular area will also have to be followed.

Mr Scotson added: "There is also a total ban on the taking of photos or video clips unless a member of staff has given permission for this.

"Hopefully everyone will recognise that these rules are there to protect the peace, privacy and well being of all our patients, and they will be followed so that we do not have to revert back to the blanket ban."


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