PATIENTS could soon be allowed to contact friends and relatives on mobile phones more during their hospital stay.
Updated guidance from the Department of Health says NHS trusts like the Countess of Chester Hospital should consider giving patients, staff and visitors the widest possible use of mobile phones, where it doesn’t interfere with critical care equipment susceptible to electro magnetic interference, the privacy of others or cause a nuisance.
At the Countess, patients pay 10p per minute to landlines and 30p per minute to mobiles on the bedside payphones provided. Friends and relatives calling the patient telephones are charged 30p per minute from a BT landline.
Countess spokesman Andrew Duggan said: “We are well aware of the modern use of mobile phones as a primary tool for patients, relatives and friends communicating on the hospital grounds.
“We do not permit the use of mobile phones on ward areas as they can potentially interfere with medical equipment. However they are permitted in areas close to the wards, including the majority of corridors and waiting areas.
“There are clear signs around the entire hospital premises that indicate whether or not it is permitted to use mobile phones in that area and we also encourage patients, friends and relatives to ask a member of staff if they are unsure.”