Barbara is backing a call for hospitals to ban commercial sales representatives from maternity wards.
The campaign, run by Mumsnet, is calling for hospitals across the country to ditch contracts with companies that send representatives to maternity wards, such as the marketing firm Bounty. The sales reps sell photography services and collect personal data while giving out bags of free samples and promotional information to new mums.
An online petition asking Health Minister Dan Poulter to get the sales reps off maternity wards has attracted more than 23,000 signatures.
Barbara has written to Mike Deegan of Central Manchester University Hospital about her concerns and asking whether the hospital would consider terminating the contract it has with Bounty. It has been reported that the hospital received more than £21,000 from the contract, or £1.40 per Mum taken as a “lead” for the sale reps.
“Evidence shows that 8 out of 10 new mums surveyed think that it is unacceptable for the NHS to allow commercial sales reps into hospital wards. More than half also said the sales rep had invaded their privacy on the wards”
“The hours after a baby is born are times which are emotional and often tiring for new mums and dads. This is not a time when new parents should have to fend off sales reps using direct-sales tactics on a hospital ward. Mumsnet wants to see NHS Trusts putting the rights of new mums and dads before commercial gain and I support that.
“New mums from Salford giving birth in hospitals like St Mary’s in Manchester should not be subjected to sales reps on the wards and I call on Central Manchester University Hospital to end the contracts that support this practice.”