A British agency has declared that a total ban on cell phones in hositals is not necessary. Rather, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says hospitals should introduce reasonable measures to balance the risks of mobile phones interfering with critical devices and the desire for better communication in hospitals.

The agency said the new advice takes account of recent developments in mobile technology and the growing communication needs of patients, visitors and hospital staff.

Some mobile devices can cause interference with critical medical equipment and it is important these are turned off where a risk exists, said Prof. Kent Woods, Chief Executive of the MHRA. However, he said there is no reason why mobile technology can't be used in designated areas of hospitals where there is little or no risk of interference with critical medical equipment.

"Mobile technology can be an easy and quick way for staff to communicate and help them to deliver the best possible care to patients. Overly restrictive policies can act as obstacles to this beneficial technology so this updated advice will help ensure that hospitals reap the benefits of mobile technology without compromising patient safety," Woods said.