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Wednesday 20th June 2018

Mobile bans 'must stay'

6th September 2007

A new study has suggested there is evidence that mobile phones can interfere with intensive care equipment.


In the UK, the government has said that the current ban on using mobile phones in hospitals can be relaxed.

But Dutch researchers have found that more than half the hospital ventilators they tested stopped working properly when a mobile phone was switched on nearby.

The study, in the Critical Care journal, examined 61 different medical devices and found that the majority could be affected by the presence of a mobile, particularly intensive care ventilators with some cases involving a direct physical influence on the patient.

Critical care monitors were also vulnerable, with seven out of 13 disrupted by mobile signals, while three out of seven syringe pumps were affected. Other devices affected were dialysis machines, external pacemaker machines and feeding pumps.

Researchers found that 3G mobiles were less likely to cause problems compared with second generation mobiles but say: “The policy to keep mobile phones one metre from the critical care bedside seems warranted.?

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advises that mobiles should be kept out of areas with sensitive medical equipment.

Some UK health trusts changed their stance when Junior Health Minister Andy Burnham said they could relax rules on mobile use, though others have kept the ban on grounds that patient privacy could be breached by the latest camera phones.

The British Medical Association maintains there is no significant evidence linking mobiles to problems with medical devices.


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