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									                    TRUST POLICY

                          POLICY REF: R8

                      MOBILE PHONE POLICY

SUMMARY                             This document outlines the Trusts Policy on the
                                    use of mobile phones.
APPROVING COMMITTEE(S) AND DATE     Risk, Health & Safety Group (7/4/04), Healthcare
                                    Governance Sub-Committee (30/9/04)
AUTHOR(S) / FURTHER INFORMATION     Head of Risk Management & Controls Assurance
LEAD DIRECTOR                       Director of Performance & Quality Improvement
APPLIES TO                          All policies
VERSION                             1
STATUS (Final / Draft)              FINAL
THIS DOCUMENT REPLACES              None – new policy
RELATED DOCUMENTS                   Health and Safety Policy, Lone Workers Policy,
                                    Violence & Aggression Policy
DISTRIBUTION                        All Policy File Holders, Intranet
REVIEW DUE DATE                     January 2007

      ISSUED BY:

                     Chief Executive

      ISSUE DATE:    January 2005

   1.      Introduction

   2.      Policy

   3.      Justification For A Mobile Phone

   4.      Procurement Of Mobile Phones

   5.      Cost of Mobile Phones

   6.      Procedure for Obtaining a Mobile Phone

   7.      Working Guidelines

   8.      Driving & Mobile Phones


   1.      Driving and Mobile Phones - Questions & Answers

   2.          Terms & Conditions for PCT Mobile Phone Users

   3.          Mobile Phone Request Form

January 2005             MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST      2 of 11
                                MOBILE PHONE POLICY

In order to improve safe working practice and support the efficient and
effective delivery of healthcare, the Trust recognises that in certain
circumstances the provision of a mobile phone is desirable. However the need
for a mobile phone should be assessed on a case-by-case basis taking into
account the role of the individual and the risks involved, whether there are ‘on-
call’ commitments together with the expected response time requirements of
some members of staff.

Additionally, from the 1st December 2003, it is a specific offence to use a
hand-held phone, or similar device, when driving. The penalty is currently a
£30 fixed penalty or up to £1,000 on conviction in court. The offence is not
currently endorsable however the government already have plans to make
using a hand-held phone whilst driving an endorsable offence. Drivers do still
however risk prosecution (for failure to have proper control) if they use hands-
free phones when driving.

2.        POLICY

Middlesbrough PCT (The Trust) recognises the important role which mobile
phones have in contributing to a safe system of work, particularly with
community based staff and lone workers.

Directors of Services will therefore ensure that:

     1.     All staff who have been assessed as requiring a mobile phone for
            reasons of health & safety or for effective communication are issued
            with a mobile phone as soon as possible;
     2.     All staff who are required to use a mobile phone for work purposes
            are aware of the terms and conditions under which the mobile
            phone has been authorised;
     3.     All staff are aware of the prohibition of using a mobile phone without
            a hands-free kit whilst driving.


     1.     Heads of Service must be able to demonstrate [through a
            documented assessment] that the use of a mobile phone is justified
            on the basis that it will:
            a. Significantly improve the health and safety of a staff member or
                 group of staff such as lone workers in the community; or
            b. Significantly improve the efficiency and/or effectiveness of
                 healthcare delivery;
     2.     Senior Manager’s who are required to be on-call;
     3.     If there is an identified need to access a member of staff for urgent
            advice and/or response to a situation;
     4.     Other criteria subject to agreement with the Director of Service.

January 2005            MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                    3 of 11
                               MOBILE PHONE POLICY

Each Directorate is responsible for purchasing its own mobile phones via NHS
Supplies naturally with appropriate levels of authorisation as per current
Standing Financial Instructions. The Trust shall not be liable for any costs
relating to the use of a ‘Non Trust’ mobile phone.

In cases where staff have been offered a PCT mobile phone, staff may
choose to use their own personal mobile phone but only if the SIM card which
came with the PCT phone is used in their own phone.


The full cost of the mobile phone, to include the initial cost of the handset,
accessories (including hands-free kit where deemed necessary by risk
assessment to comply with the requirements in Appendix 1), the ongoing line
rental and official business call charges will be a cost to the user’s Directorate.

It is Trust policy that personal calls should not be made with the Trust’s mobile
phone. However, the Trust does accept that on occasions, personal calls may
need to be made for urgent reasons. Where this is the case, such calls must
be kept to a minimum and, save in exceptional circumstances, be of less than
one minute duration. By definition, the frequency of such calls should be low,
i.e., certainly less than ten such calls per month.

Due to a historically negotiated agreement however, the District Nursing
service mobile phone contract will continue to its termination on 31 st March
2005, which means that this section of the Policy (Section Five) does not
apply to District Nurses who were employed by the TNEY Trust prior to 1 st
April 2002. Thereafter however, the District Nursing service will comply fully
with this policy in its entirety.

The Finance Department will randomly sample user’s itemised phone bills to
confirm adherence to this policy.


The mobile phone ‘Request Form’ must be completed and signed by the
employee requesting the phone. This is to confirm that they agree to abide by
the terms and conditions under which the mobile phone is provided by the
Trust. A copy of the Terms and Conditions and ‘Request Form’ are set out in
Appendices 2 and 3 respectively. The form must be authorised by the Head of
Service (and the/a director if the issue is at the discretion of the/a director).

The completed form should then be sent to the Finance Department who will
in turn forward it to NHS Supplies for processing.


January 2005           MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                      4 of 11
                              MOBILE PHONE POLICY

Mobile phones are provided to improve personal safety and that of close
colleagues. Simply by giving a member of staff a mobile phone does NOT
mean that they have a safe system of work. Managers should consider a
mobile phone as PART of a safe system for the staff to be used in conjunction
with other measures to control risks e.g. from lone working.

The mobile phone should be switched on during working hours / whilst on
duty (including on-call). However, it is deemed good practice to make full use
of the voicemail and text facility and have the phone silenced or switched off
during meetings and/or patient contact. This is to minimise the disruption to all
concerned. Messages should be checked and responded to at frequent


From the 1st December 2003 it is an offence under the Road Vehicles
(Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 (as amended) to use a hand-held
mobile phone whilst driving.

Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust recognises that the use of hand-held
mobile phones whilst driving is unsafe and therefore does not condone the
practice except in the event of a genuine emergency.

The Trust is therefore required to ensure staff do not use a hand-held mobile
phone whilst driving and to ensure staff are made aware of these changes
and how it affects them.

As such, the Trust does not permit staff to make a call using a hand-held
mobile phone whilst driving in the course of their business unless it is
via a hands-free kit where the phone can be operated without holding it.
The Trust will not be held liable for any fines imposed on staff members
as a result of breaching these instructions.

Staff are advised that if they are involved in a motor vehicle accident whilst
using a mobile phone illegally, this act may invalidate their motor insurance

Any costs incurred by the Trust arising out of any defence of a lease car user
found guilty of such an offence may be recoverable, subject to management

Therefore, staff [whilst at work] that receive a call on their mobile telephone
whilst they are driving are required to either:

     (i)      pull over in a safe position, switch off the engine and take the call;
     (ii)     wait until they have reached their destination and then return the

January 2005              MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                    5 of 11
                                 MOBILE PHONE POLICY
Pushing buttons on a phone while it is in a cradle for example is allowed
provided you don't hold the phone.

If the trust did require an employee to use a hand-held phone while driving
and/or failed to forbid the employee to use such phones while driving then it
may be committing an offence. It is very important therefore that this policy is
brought to the attention of all mobile phone users and that the requirements
are fully complied with.

Due to the complexity of this issue and the potential personal effect on
individual employees the questions and answers in Appendix 1 should clarify
the situation for most users.

January 2005          MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                    6 of 11
                             MOBILE PHONE POLICY
                                                                     Appendix 1

Q1. What does the regulation say about hand-held phones?

The use of a hand-held phone or similar hand-held device while driving will be
prohibited. A hand-held device is something that "is or must be held at some
point during the course of making or receiving a call or performing any other
interactive communication function".

A device is "similar" to a mobile phone if it performs an interactive
communication function by transmitting and receiving data. Examples of
interactive communication functions are sending and receiving spoken or
written messages, sending or receiving still or moving images and providing
access to the internet.

Q2. Is hands-free phone equipment allowed?

A hands-free kit consisting of a wire and an earpiece would only be legal if
you did not have to hold the phone to dial a number or take a call.

Pushing buttons on a phone while it is in a cradle for example is allowed
provided you don't hold the phone.

However, hands-free phones are also distracting and you still risk prosecution
for failing to have proper control of a vehicle under Regulation 104 of the
Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 if you use a hands-
free phone when driving. If there is an incident, the use of any phone or
similar device might justify charges of careless or dangerous driving.

Q3. What about texting/internet access/video phones?

The use of a mobile phone or similar device for any of these activities while
driving is also prohibited if the phone (or other device) has to be held in order
to operate it.

Q4. Will drivers still be able to use navigation equipment or personal digital
assistants (PDAs) or other computer equipment that sends or receives data
(which would include GPS transmissions)?

Yes - providing that it is not a hand-held device. Use of devices other than
mobile phones are only prohibited if the device performs an interactive
communication function by sending and receiving data. If the device does not
perform this type of function, you can use the device without breaching the

But remember the warning in the Highway Code (Rule 128) that using in-
vehicle systems can be distracting. You must exercise proper control of your
vehicle at all times.

January 2005          MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                     7 of 11
                             MOBILE PHONE POLICY
                                                                      Appendix 1

Q5. Why are you not banning the use of hands-free mobile phones while

Using any type of phone while driving is distracting.

Drivers should remember that the police can still use existing legislation (for
failure to have proper control) if a driver is distracted by a call on a hands-free
phone. If there is an incident and the driver is using any phone (hand-held or
hands-free) or similar device, then there is a risk of prosecution for careless or
dangerous driving.

Q6. Will mobile phones have to be switched off in vehicles?

No. Passengers may want to use them. And drivers can use them when they
are safely parked.

Q7. What if the phone rings when I'm driving?

Let it ring and return the call when safely parked. Better to switch to voicemail
before starting. It is also good practice to indicate in your voicemail message
that you cannot take the call because you may be driving.

Q8. Who do the new regulations apply to?

The new regulations apply to the drivers of all motor vehicles on the road,
including cars, motorcycles, goods vehicles, buses, coaches and taxis.

They also apply to anyone supervising a learner driver, while the learner
driver is driving. Anyone supervising a learner driver needs to be
concentrating on what the driver is doing and should not be using a mobile

Q9. Can I use a hand-held mobile phone when stopped in a traffic jam?

The prohibition applies when driving. Driving includes times when stopped at
traffic lights or during other hold-ups that may occur during a typical journey
when a vehicle can be expected to move off after a short while.

In exceptional traffic jams, such as a lengthy stoppage on a motorway, it
would be clear that someone wasn't driving if the engine was off.

Q10. Are there any exemptions?

Yes. There is an exemption for calls to 999 (or 112) in genuine emergencies
where it is unsafe or impractical to stop.

January 2005           MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                      8 of 11
                              MOBILE PHONE POLICY
                                                                   Appendix 1

Q11. Will I be able to cradle a phone between my ear and shoulder?
No. The offence applies if a phone has to be "held" while making or receiving
a call. Therefore you should not hold a phone between your ear and shoulder
- or anywhere else - when driving.

Q12. If you prohibit using mobile phones, then surely you'll have to stop
people talking or tuning the radio? What powers do the police have?

The Government have no such intentions. There are many potential
distractions while driving and it remains the driver's responsibility to drive
safely at all times. Research shows that it is more distracting to talk on a
mobile phone than to have a conversation with a passenger who can see
what is happening.

Q13. Is the offence endorsable?

No. The offence is subject to a £30 fixed penalty or maximum fine of £1000
for conviction in court. However, the Government do plan to increase the
penalty for the new offence by making it subject to 3 penalty points and a £60
fixed penalty. Primary legislation will be needed for this when a suitable
opportunity arises to amend Schedule 2 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act
1988. There is no planned date as yet.

Remember, in some circumstances, for example if there has been an
accident, a prosecution for careless or dangerous driving may be justified if a
phone was in use at the time of the crash. The penalties on conviction for
such offences include heavy fines, endorsement, disqualification and, in
serious cases, imprisonment.

January 2005          MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                   9 of 11
                             MOBILE PHONE POLICY
                                                                   Appendix 2

                         TERMS AND CONDITIONS

   1.      To be used by the employee of Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust
           for essential business telephone calls only;

   2.      It is the employee’s responsibility to keep the mobile phone charged
           and ready for use when needed;

   3.      If the mobile phone is not working or damaged in any way which
           affects its function, the employee must report this to their manager
           who will arrange for an exchange;

   4.      The employee is responsible for taking all reasonable precautions
           to avoid loss or misuse of the mobile phone;

   5.      Never use the mobile phone without hands-free equipment (see
           Appendix 1, Q2);

   6.      The employee understands that from time to time it may be
           necessary for the Trust to change the mobile phone supplier and/or
           network provider. This may involve changing the handset and also
           a number change. Should this be necessary, it is the employee’s
           responsibility to ensure that all the appropriate individuals are
           notified of the number change;

   7.      During significant periods of leave including sick leave, maternity
           leave and annual leave, the mobile phone will be recalled by the
           Head of Service for use by another member of staff;

   8.      Should the employee transfer internally to a different post, the
           phone (and all associated accessories including charger, hands-
           free kit etc) must be left for the use by their replacement and not
           transferred with the individual, in order to ensure continuity. This
           requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Head of Service.

   9.      On leaving the employment of the Trust, the employee must return
           the mobile phone and associated equipment to their line manager
           for re-distribution.

January 2005          MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                  10 of 11
                             MOBILE PHONE POLICY
                                                                                Appendix 3
                          MOBILE TELEPHONE REQUEST FORM
                                (To be completed by the applicant)

Applicant’s Name:______________________________________________________

Jobtitle:             _______________________________________________________

Department:           ______________________Directorate: _______________________

Base:                 ________________________________

Justification for request

     Significantly improves the health and safety of a staff member or group of staff

     Significantly improves the efficiency and/or effectiveness of healthcare delivery

     Senior Manager who are required to be on-call;

     There is an identified need to access this member of staff for urgent advice
     and/or response to a situation;

     Other criteria, subject to agreement with the Director of Service (indicate below)
     (Director’s signature required)

I have read and understood the PCT’s policy on mobile phones and agree to abide by the
terms and conditions contained therein.

Signed                  _______________________             Date: __________________

Issue Approved           _______________________            Date: __________________
By Head of Service

Authorised By Director: _____________________               Date: __________________
(If required, see above)

Finance Dept Acknowledged:        ________________          Date: __________________

                    (The completed form should be sent to NHS Supplies)

                                NHS SUPPLIES USE ONLY

Requisition Number:         __________________

Order No:                   __________________

Date Order Processed:       __________________        Date Phone Issued: _____________

     January 2005            MIDDLESBROUGH PRIMARY CARE TRUST                  11 of 11
                                    MOBILE PHONE POLICY

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