Patients will be allowed to use their mobile phones in designated parts of hospitals in Wales, it has been announced.

In a further step towards making it cheaper for patients and visitors to call home, hospital contracts for phone and TV systems will not be renewed.

In the meantime, local health boards will be told to advertise the charges more prominently.

It follows concern about patients paying premium rates to use bedside phones or watch TV.

Health boards will decide how to comply with the policy while trying to minimise noise and disruption for other patients.

New hospitals will have TVs in single rooms and, as more rooms are refurbished, more TVs will be put in them, the Assembly government said.

Health minister Edwina Hart said: “We know that most patients and relatives want to use their personal mobile phones to keep in touch.

“Today’s announcement will give people the choice of which phone they want to use and it can keeps costs lower for patients and their families.

“Patients will need to be mindful that hospitals are a place for them to rest and recover after an operation and they must therefore be respectful of other patients when using mobile phones, even in designated areas.”