Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Use of mobile phones in hospitals

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 12 October 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:767

Rapid Response:

Communication is essential

The hospital in which I am working in Australia is particularly well
supplied with the latest equipment. It is a moderately sized teaching
hospital that is well regarded by staff and patients. Everyone who needs
to use a mobile telephone at any time does so. They are generally careful
to avoid having it switched on in ward rounds, grand rounds or consults.
Patients feel that they have a 'lifeline' to their friends and relatives -
and are not dependent on any hospital phone charges to keep in contact
with the outside world - although each bed has a phone number so that
incoming calls can be received. This novel idea is without charge -
imagine that!
There have been no adverse events in this hospital due to mobile phone use
- despite their use throughout the hospital. The NHS would do well to
generally improve its staff and patients' services and make hospitals a
better place to be. the elimination of extortionate and immoral telephone
and car parking charges would be a good start. Embracing such a simple
technological advance as the mobile phone is really long overdue.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 October 2006
Gary J Nicholls
St Vincents Hospital, Sydney, Australia