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just had a run in with the maternity ward bounty photographer

(799 Posts)

And having previously defended them and loved my pictures of my eldest children todays 'rep' has made me agree they need to be removed from wards!

She arrived originally before breakfast turned on the lights and opened curtains waking me and the other Mum up, then continued to talk over the peadiatrician who was checking my dd over.

Eventually she sulked off but apparently came back when I was asleep (how dare I?) Last time she came back as I'd just settled dd and was eating lunch which had just arrived.

I said No photos at the minute thanks she got most insistant that its for security reasons?? (I'm going home today) and said she'd just lean round and take them, dd was asleep on my lap in a v pillow whilst I ate. I said again, not right now I'm eating she left brochures and went off muttering quite loudly.

I'm hormonal so ofc this has upset me, but not as much as the first time mum across they way! WHY are these people allowed to just walk around a maternity ward being so fucking rude!

And the so called freebies are so paltry anyway these days !
More vouchers than products as far as I'm aware.

13Iggis Sun 13-Jan-13 17:09:10

When I had my first child I really did think the Bounty pack was given out by/endorsed by the NHS. The first one you get is given out by a midwife, so you don't even see a private company rep. I did not then connect the vast amount of new catalogues arriving (Boden, anyone?) with filling in their form, but there is no other way they could magically find out I had a baby, I think. I quite liked getting baby catalogues back then, but I did rack up a lot of debt whilst on maternity leave.

RedToothbrush Fri 18-Jan-13 15:52:23

Response no2 From Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/how_the_trust_ensures_proper_saf_4#incoming-351095

This was the trust that called me Mr. in their first response.

I think they score better than Western Sussex, though I'm not entirely happy with the answers here. The answer to 26 was the one that was eye brow raising. You are apparently no longer a 'patient' but a 'customer'. It made me wonder something a little alarming...

For you convenience, response is below:

1) When are Bounty Salespeople/Representatives allowed on post-natal wards?
Bounty staff have access during the normal working day Monday – Friday, with the exclusion of medical ward rounds.

2) Is this inside or outside normal visiting hours?
Outside of normal visiting hours.

3) Do they sell bed to bed?
The Bounty Photographer will visit patients at their bed side. This is often the preferred location of families for their photographs as a memento of their stay.

4) Are they permitted on the ward unaccompanied and unsupervised by hospital staff?
The Bounty staff are accredited visitors to the Trust and therefore have access to the wards.

5) If Bounty Salespeople/Representatives are permitted on ward, how does the Trust ensure that they do not have any access to private or confidential information especially where part of their job is to collect data of patients for financial gain or work on a commission basis?
The Trust has a strict policy and subsequent procedure for safeguarding patient information. This is prevents any information being available for visitors to the ward areas.

6) How does the Trust protect the physical privacy of patients from Bounty? Arrangements are in place for all visitors requesting to visit patients to prevent any unwanted interruptions either due to procedures / examinations being undertake as a result of patient preference, or safeguarding issues. The reason for non-admittance is not disclosed and all regular visitors would understand and comply with this request.

7) What measures are in place for patients who do not wish to be approached during their stay in hospital?
See answer 6.

8) Does the Trust have a formal system to identity these patients to Bounty without revealing any personal details or details about their treatment?
See answer 6.

9) Has a formal assessment been carried out to assess whether patients' rights are being properly protected in the presence of a commercial party?
The Trust’s tender evaluation process gave due consideration to this aspect of the provision of the service.

10) Are patients informed about Bounty's commercial interest during ante-natal care so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to engage with a Bounty Salespeople/Representatives if they are admitted to hospital?
Bounty provide all women with an antenatal pack which highlights the services available if desired.

11) What procedure, if any, is in place to ensure that all patients are made aware that Bounty salespeople/Representatives will be on the ward upon their admission?
Answer: Women are informed during the antenatal period that a representative will attend the ward during their post natal stay, deliver postnatal packs and offer the opportunity to have photographs taken if desired.

12) How is this ensured in a hospital setting with patients who are a captive audience and who may also be within 24 hours of a general anaesthetic (and therefore unable to give informed legal consent), still under the influence of drugs, be in a heightened emotional state, recovering from a traumatic operation, suffering from a lack of sleep following a lengthy labour or otherwise more vulnerable than normal?
See answer to question 6.

13) Are Bounty Salespeople/Representatives clearly and easily identifiable as being not part of the hospital staff at all times?
Yes, Bounty staff are clearly identifiable both via their uniform and staff badge.

14) How do the Trust ensure that patients do not mistakenly think that Bounty nor any of the companies they represent are in any way affiliated to the hospital or NHS?
See answer to question 13.

15) Who is responsible for Bounty salespeople/Representatives on the wards?
Answer: Ward Managers are responsible in part for all visitors to the ward but Bounty staff are answerable to their line management. Regular monitoring of the Bounty Service is undertaken.

16) Are any hospital staff on the ward trained to identify aggressive or misleading sales practices to ensure the protection of patients?
No, although they are skilled in providing appropriate safeguards to their patients.

17) Does the Trust train Bounty staff in anyway about sensitivity, respect and privacy of patients, particularly where there maybe women and babies who may be experiencing additional complications or problems?
Answer: Our processes elicit appropriate assurances from service providers of the quality and nature of the training of any staff member who is given access to our Trust.

18) Does the Trust assess Bounty's staff training before any representatives are allowed on the ward?
See answer to question 17.

19) How does the Trust ensure that information being provided by Bounty or its representatives or on behalf of commercial organisations is in line with current Department of Health messages?
Appropriate senior clinicians regularly meet with Bounty to review the information provided.

20) Is this information regularly checked for any updates/changes?
See answer to question 19.

21) Are Bounty staff either properly trained to be able to accurately answer, or told not answer, any health related questions that might be raised by patients?
See answer to question 17.

22) How does the Trust deal with any complaints about Bounty staff?
This would depend on the nature of the complaint but the Trust has comprehensive complaints process and procedures for the referral of any staff member – whether employed by our Trust or a provider organisation – from the Trust site if appropriate.

23) How do you ensure that Bounty staff adhere to the same level of professional conduct as staff employed directly by the Trust?
See answer to question 17.

24) How accountable are Bounty held for any breaches of privacy or inappropriate sales practice?
This event has not occurred within this Trust although our normal procedures with providers would be followed. Any breaches of contract or terms of service provision would be addressed.

25) Does the Trust benefit financially, whether directly or indirectly, from the presence of salespeople/Representatives?
The Trust does financially benefit.

26) If so, how does the Trust ensure that the best interests of patients are not being compromised?
Please see responses to previous questions. Our customers have informed us that Bounty provide a service that they welcome.

2anddone Fri 18-Jan-13 16:05:43

My dd was born by emergency cs and in the surgeons haste to get her out she cut dd's cheek. Dd had to have a plastic surgeon travel from Cambridge to sew up her cheek to give it best chance of healing.
Photographer came round ward and took one look at dd and announced "oh dear, you don't want a picture of her looking like that!" and walked off. I wanted to scream as firstly it wasn't my fault dd was going to be scarred the rest of her life because of hospital (we were lucky as were only a cm from her eye) and secondly I would rather have my dd with a scar than not at all!
Ban them horrible busybodies making us feel like shir

KatoPotato Fri 18-Jan-13 16:16:55

Mutiny over the Bounty!

Horrific shower of so and so's.

RedToothBrush Fri 18-Jan-13 17:25:57

That last answer is REALLY bugging me. I'm sure I've seen it word for word on a statement from Bounty, but I can't place it for the life of me. It certainly looks like its been cut and pasted from Bounty rather than being the response of the Trust. Either that or this FOI Request got passed to Bounty to answer.

It just is 'wrong' it just about every aspect I can think of. Either the hospital think patients are customers OR its very poorly answered OR the relationship between Bounty and the Hospital is actually very sinister indeed.

RedToothBrush Tue 22-Jan-13 07:58:30

Had another response which I'll post this evening.

It would be nice for these hospitals not not automatically address me as Mr.
This response is the second I've had which has been.

At a glance, its seems to be the best response by far (and actually written by someone taking it seriously).

RedToothBrush Tue 22-Jan-13 21:01:42

If anyone is still interested in these

Response from University South Manchester Hospital
The conflict of interest questions at the end, for all three responses, have all troubled me a lot and I find it very very concerning in the context of greater involvement of the private sector in the NHS:

1)When are Bounty Salespeople/Representatives allowed on post-natal wards?
Bounty attend daily.

2)Is this inside or outside normal visiting hours?
Between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm which includes visiting, but is also outside normal visiting hours.

3)Do they sell bed to bed?
Yes. They would approach discretely on an individual basis.

4)Are they permitted on the ward unaccompanied and unsupervised by hospital staff?
They are not accompanied on the ward but staff are always present in the ward area and they would always seek permission from staff prior to entering the ward area.

5)If Bounty Salespeople/Representatives are permitted on ward, how does the Trust ensure that they do not have any access to private or confidential information especially where part of their job is to collect data of patients for financial gain or work on a commission basis?
They do not have access to patient information. They are advised by the ward staff of mothers they should not approach. Information is only given by the mothers themselves, by choice.

6)How does the Trust protect the physical privacy of patients from Bounty?
Staff identify mothers unsuitable or inappropriate to approach and any mothers who do not wish to be approached by Bounty.

7)What measures are in place for patients who do not wish to be approached during their stay in hospital?
Any mothers who express a wish not to be approached would be identified by bed number.

8)Does the Trust have a formal system to identity these patients to Bounty without revealing any personal details or details about their treatment?
Staff identify all patients inappropriate to approach, either by choice or condition, by bed number. No explanation is given for mothers deemed inappropriate to approach.

9) Has a formal assessment been carried out to assess whether patients' rights are being properly protected in the presence of a commercial party?
Patients’ rights are constantly under review in line with best practice.

10) Are patients informed about Bounty's commercial interest during ante-natal care so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to engage with a Bounty Salespeople/Representatives if they are admitted to hospital?
Only within Bounty’s own information leaflet “join the club”.

11) What procedure, if any, is in place to ensure that all patients are made aware that Bounty Salespeople/ Representatives will be on the ward upon their admission?
Bounty advertise in their antenatal welcome pack. The ward has a “Welcome to the ward” leaflet in a pack by the bedside which informs mums of all possible ward visitors, including the Bounty representative.

12) How is this ensured in a hospital setting with patients who are a captive audience and who may also be within 24 hours of a general anaesthetic (and therefore unable to give informed legal consent), still under the influence of drugs, be in a heightened emotional state, recovering from a traumatic operation, suffering from a lack of sleep following a lengthy labour or otherwise more vulnerable than normal?
This would be assessed by the ward staff and Bounty would be advised not to approach anyone unsuitable. Bounty also have a “Code of Conduct”

13) Are Bounty Salespeople/Representatives clearly and easily identifiable as being not part of the hospital staff at all times?
All Bounty Representatives wear ID badges and are not in trust uniform. They also introduce themselves to the mothers as Bounty Representatives.

14) How do the Trust ensure that patients do not mistakenly think that Bounty nor any of the companies they represent are in any way affiliated to the hospital or NHS?
They introduce themselves to the mothers and are included in the ward introduction leaflet.

15) Who is responsible for Bounty Salespeople/Representatives on the wards?
Bounty area manager and ward manager/coordinator.

16) Are any hospital staff on the ward trained to identify aggressive or misleading sales practices to ensure the protection of patients?
All staff attend Conflict Resolution training.

17) Does the Trust train Bounty staff in anyway about sensitivity, respect and privacy of patients, particularly where there maybe women and babies who may be experiencing additional complications or problems?
No. Bounty Representatives are informed of Best Practice, Health & Safety and hospital policy.

18) Does the Trust assess Bounty's staff training before any representatives are allowed on the ward?
No. Training assessed by the Bounty area manager. Trust ensures all Bounty Representatives have enhanced CRB checks

19) How does the Trust ensure that information being provided by Bounty or its representatives or on behalf of commercial organisations is in line with current Department of Health health messages?
Review by Ward Manager and Infant Feeding Coordinator. Managers meet regularly with Bounty Area Manager to review content. Bounty follow National Guidance, BFI guidance. Staff and Heads of Midwifery receive sample packs when packs have a change of content.

20) Is this information regularly checked for any updates/changes?
Yes. Locally and Regionally.

21) Are Bounty staff either properly trained to be able to accurately answer, or told not answer, any health related questions that might be raised by patients?
Trained not to answer health related questions and refer to the ward staff. Bounty staff work to a Code of Conduct.

22) How does the Trust deal with any complaints about Bounty staff?
No complaint has been received with regards to Bounty.

23) How do you ensure that Bounty staff adhere to the same level of professional conduct as staff employed directly by the Trust?
Regular meetings with service providers and feedback from the ward. Bounty have a Code of Conduct.

24) How accountable are Bounty held for any breaches of privacy or inappropriate sales practice?
They have a Code of Conduct and adhere to hospital policy.

25) Does the Trust benefit financially, whether directly or indirectly, from the presence of Salespeople/ Representatives?
The Trust receives a quarterly payment which is utilised to support items for patient care which the Trust would not otherwise be able to provide.

26) If so, how does the Trust ensure that the best interests of patients are not being compromised?
The payments are used to support the patient stay.

AliceWChild Tue 22-Jan-13 21:08:34

I'm reading them. Tried to find that sentence you found familiar for you earlier too. No luck

I'm pleased to read these latest responses too RT.

It's interesting to think about why there may have been few complaints about Bounty I think. Basically I think to a large degree that's because all the "customers" have rather more to think and worry about with a new baby and having just given birth, than to complain about how the Bounty reps have behaved. But that doesn't mean that we are all happy with them, or that they provide any useful service for new mothers ! Also I think most patients on a post-natal ward might be quite confused about who they should complain to about the Bounty reps, as so little effort is made to explain who they are, who they are accountable to, or how to complain about the service they provide.

RedToothBrush Thu 24-Jan-13 19:26:15

Response from West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust which I think is the Trust that the OP and SuffolkNWhat have spoken about on this thread:

1) When are Bounty Salespeople/Representatives allowed on post-natal wards?
In the morning at approximately 9:30 am

2) Is this inside or outside normal visiting hours?
Outside visiting hours

3) Do they sell bed to bed?
Discuss photography service with the woman and it is the woman’s choice whether she takes up the service.

4) Are they permitted on the ward unaccompanied and unsupervised by hospital staff?
Bounty staff seek permission from the Co-ordinating midwife on the shift before they approach women. All Bounty staff have had appropriate CRB clearance and they are known to the staff.

5) If Bounty Salespeople/Representatives are permitted on ward, how does the Trust ensure that they do not have any access to private or confidential information especially where part of their job is to collect data of patients for financial gain or work on a commission basis?
Main records are not kept by the woman’s bedside and the records are only
accessible to the midwifery and medical staff.

6) How does the Trust protect the physical privacy of patients from Bounty?
Midwifery staff will inform the Bounty staff of any woman who should not be approached.

7) What measures are in place for patients who do not wish to be approached during their stay in hospital?
If the woman request not to be approached and informs the midwife this will conveyed to the Bounty staff.

8) Does the Trust have a formal system to identity these patients to Bounty without revealing any personal details or details about their treatment?
The formal system is to seek permission from the midwifery staff prior to contact with the women.

9) Has a formal assessment been carried out to assess whether patients' rights are being properly protected in the presence of a commercial party?
No

10) Are patients informed about Bounty's commercial interest during ante-natal care so they can make an informed decision about whether they want to engage with a Bounty Salespeople/Representatives if they are admitted to hospital?
Information with regard to Bounty Services are included in the Booking Packs. Midwifery staff are not informed by the woman if they do not want to be engaged with Bounty prior to admission.

11) What procedure, if any, is in place to ensure that all patients are made aware that Bounty Salespeople/Representatives will be on the ward upon their admission?
Antenatal booklet gives appropriate information regarding Bounty’s activity.

12) How is this ensured in a hospital setting with patients who are a captive audience and who may also be within 24 hours of a general anaesthetic (and therefore unable to give informed legal consent), still under the influence of drugs, be in a heightened emotional state, recovering from a traumatic operation, suffering from a lack of sleep following a lengthy labour or otherwise more vulnerable than normal?
The Bounty staff who work within the department follows the maternity unit
agreement.

13) Are Bounty Salespeople/Representatives clearly and easily identifiable as being not part of the hospital staff at all times?
Yes

14) How do the Trust ensure that patients do not mistakenly think that Bounty nor any of the companies they represent are in any way affiliated to the hospital or NHS?
Different identification badges are worn.

15) Who is responsible for Bounty Salespeople/Representatives on the wards?
Head of Midwifery / General Manager

16) Are any hospital staff on the ward trained to identify aggressive or misleading sales practices to ensure the protection of patients?
Sale practice is not aggressive.

17) Does the Trust train Bounty staff in anyway about sensitivity, respect and privacy of patients, particularly where there maybe women and babies who may be experiencing additional complications or problems?
Trust does not train any of the Bounty staff.

18) Does the Trust assess Bounty's staff training before any representatives are allowed on the ward?
No

19) How does the Trust ensure that information being provided by Bounty or its representatives or on behalf of commercial organisations is in line with current Department of Health health messages?
Any changes are discussed with the Head of Midwifery before it is introduced.

20) Is this information regularly checked for any updates/changes?
Yes

21) Are Bounty staff either properly trained to be able to accurately answer, or told not answer, any health related questions that might be raised by patients?
No involvement in health related issues.

22) How does the Trust deal with any complaints about Bounty staff?
Through the Trust complaints procedure

23) How do you ensure that Bounty staff adhere to the same level of professional conduct as staff employed directly by the Trust?
They follow the Trust guidelines and any professional misconduct reported would be investigated.

24) How accountable are Bounty held for any breaches of privacy or inappropriate sales practice?
Totally accountable.

25) Does the Trust benefit financially, whether directly or indirectly, from the presence of Salespeople/Representatives?
Yes

26) If so, how does the Trust ensure that the best interests of patients are not being compromised?
Any financial gains are used to improve service.

fizzybeerandsausages Sat 26-Jan-13 22:08:23

Having had a brief look at the last two responses, two things particularly stood out for me:

"16) Are any hospital staff on the ward trained to identify aggressive or misleading sales practices to ensure the protection of patients?All staff attend Conflict Resolution training." - what has conflict resolution got to do with preventing aggressive or misleading sales practices? That could sound like staff have previously had to intervene between bounty staff and patients with a view to keeping the peace rather than protecting patients.

"16) Are any hospital staff on the ward trained to identify aggressive or misleading sales practices to ensure the protection of patients?Sale practice is not aggressive." - not only is the question not answered but they cannot guarantee that sales practices are not aggressive or that vulnerable mothers don't feel that it is aggressive as a result of drugs, exhaustion, trauma etc

RedToothBrush Thu 07-Feb-13 11:05:52

Haven't forgotten about this. Still trying to get final reply which is now legally overdue (and they are being difficult about).

With Dd1 the bounty lady came round and asked me if I wanted to have a photo taken. I politely refused, she gave me a funny look & off she went. I'd already taken loads myself, I really didn't see the point. I never saw one when I had dd2.
Im glad I came across this thread, as I always thought she thought I was a bit strange for saying no.

EuroShagmore Thu 07-Feb-13 14:20:31

The last answer from Central Manchester is rather odd...

And all the trusts seem to be rather defensive of the hospital's relationship with Bounty...

KitCat26 Thu 07-Feb-13 15:34:53

The responses from the west suffolk are interesting, that's where I had my two.
Was only caught by the Bounty woman the first time. Didn't buy anything though as DD was still encrusted in blood. Didn't make for a pretty picture.

DeepRedBetty Thu 07-Feb-13 16:08:44

Dropped in to find out if there was a linky so we can start petition signing.

I've Liked the FB page btw.

RedToothBrush Mon 11-Feb-13 11:59:16

Hello Mumsnet HQ

Sorry this post is so lengthy but I’m not sure exactly how to do this, or how committed you were to doing something about the thread on Bounty from a few weeks ago.

I’ve since tried to do 5 FOI requests on the subject to try to get to the bottom of the issue in context of trying to work out whether there is a case to be made about whether hospitals are properly looking at trading standards, privacy and how vulnerable women in maternity units are.

I’ve had 4 responses and I’m still waiting on a 5th but the Trust has gone past its legal deadline and its frankly seems to be being deliberately obstructive. I had been hoping for a response from all five before contacting you but I want to try and progress this further with the other responses I’ve had, as there are options to request a formal review through Whatdotheyknow.com and don’t know how long its going to take for the final one to get its act together.
I don’t know how much of the thread you’ve read, so I’m going to assume that since you are busy people that you possibly haven’t read much, if you have I’ll apologise for repeating my main concerns over this.

The four FOI responses I’ve had I find quite alarming in places. Again I appreciate they are fairly lengthy; if you don’t have time to read the background PLEASE read the responses as I think it is easy to start spotting just how bad they are in places.
They are upthread or can be read here:

Firstly I’ve got links to two documents which I think are important reading to as background. If you don't have time to read them I appreciate that, but I do think they are pretty important and relevant.

The first can be found here It is the link to Guidance on the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations at the bottom of the page.
I referenced things from this document in the request plus it also gives definitions of what constitutes a commercial practice and what constitutes a vulnerable person in the legal sense.

Secondly is a document which can be found here which is a report by the social care institute for excellence about Financial crime against vulnerable adults.

This document again lays out descriptions of what constitutes a vulnerable adult and how financial crime tends to be carried out. (Usually by people in a position of Trust). This document also points out that is it there responsibility of hospitals to protect their patients properly from exploitation when they are vulnerable.

My biggest concerns are that all the hospitals seem to be:
1) Completely unaware of Trading Standards
2) At least two have never done a formal review of safeguarding this issue which I feel that women would have expected to be done as a matter of course
3) The lack of understanding, training or acceptance that women in a maternity ward are more vulnerable than they normally would be and the need for this to perhaps be better recognised
4) The feedback they are getting and relying on to run the service is very different to what women are saying here and elsewhere
5) They have no concept of what a potential conflict of interest is.

None of the hospitals seems to be remotely aware of what Trading Standards were and none seems to be bothered to check this when making their responses.
In particular in response to
"In determining whether a commercial practice uses harassment, coercion or undue influence account shall be taken of—
(a) its timing, location, nature or persistence;
(c) the exploitation by the trader of any specific misfortune or circumstance of such gravity as to impair the consumer’s judgment, of which the trader is aware, to influence the consumer’s decision with regard to the product"
12) How is this ensured in a hospital setting with patients who are a captive audience and who may also be within 24 hours of a general anaesthetic (and therefore unable to give informed legal consent), still under the influence of drugs, be in a heightened emotional state, recovering from a traumatic operation, suffering from a lack of sleep following a lengthy labour or otherwise more vulnerable than normal? Western Sussex NHS Trust said:
“There is no direct bed side selling. If a photograph is taken one is given free. At a later date at home the mother is sent a pack of what is available is she wishes to choose anything. It is not done within 24 hours.”

I feel this misses the point that a commercial practice INCLUDES taking personal information to contact someone at a later date (baring in mind that they use this data to sell on to third parties)

They missed the point of pressure placed on women to give these details themselves; it is not necessarily given freely and under other circumstances where they would be able to walk away might not give this information so readily. They missed the point that women do not necessarily understand that Bounty is a commercial company.

There are several women on this thread who have said that, the way Bounty identify themselves isn’t entirely clear to patients. Simply wearing a badge or saying they are from Bounty (something which isn’t actually in Bounty’s code of conduct to do) doesn’t seem to be completely sufficient, especially when they are visited outside visiting hours when only hospital staff are on the ward. Many women are not fully aware that Bounty are a commercial company independent of the NHS.

They seem to be solely relying on either Bounty or official complaints as feedback to the service. This is despite what a survey by the NCT of a thousand women said (this was reported in The Independent in 2011 http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/how-maternity-wards-cash-in-on-mothers-2341654.html) on Mumsnet and on other various parenting sites including Bounty’s own site.

My thought is that in order to properly deal to the FOI responses I’ve had, I’m going to need to make a good case to support the issue that they don’t believe there is an issue here from the information they have and that the complaints system isn't properly reflecting the issues women have about the service. And this is where I really think Mumsnet could help.

Hospitals need to be paying much more attention to why there is seemingly such a huge gap in complaints made officially, the feedback they are getting from Bounty (which is liable to be coming from their customers rather than from people who refuse to use the service simply from the way they have conducted their research and therefore biased). It needs to look at the context and nature of complaints (eg a woman has just potentially had life saving surgery and has a newborn to cope with, so putting in a perfectly legitimate and valid complaint isn’t going to be a priority).

The worst answers to the entire thing were to the question:
26) If so, how does the Trust ensure that the best interests of patients are not being compromised?
I do not think any of the responses were remotely satisfactory to say:
“Please see responses to previous questions. Our customers have informed us that Bounty provide a service that they welcome.” Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - since when are patients 'customers'?
“Through the complaint process but to date the Trust is unaware of any women declining to receive a free Bounty bag and in exchange provide her name and address.” Western Sussex NHS Trust
“The payments are used to support the patient stay.” University South Manchester Hospital
“Any financial gains are used to improve service.” West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (the Trust of the OP)

I think all four hospitals completely miss the point about how there could be a conflict of interest here and the way in which things are being done isn’t necessarily in the best interest of patients and their rights are being compromised in the process. I find this particularly alarming when there are very recent concerns about hospitals turning blind eyes to patients when people ‘buy access to wards’ so they can fund services.

Just to clarify, I do not think that Bounty or any other similar company (as I don’t believe its just restricted to Bounty – its every commercial company operating in wards) should be completely banned from maternity wards, but I do think there needs to be a proper assessment of whether women who have just given birth, legally have the status of vulnerable and if they do just how much hospitals understand their responsibilities with this. I do believe that the imbalance of power in the present system is the real issue. The power is with the hospital and Bounty and not with women. It really needs to change to empower women; primarily shifting away from a ‘cold calling system’ which includes collection of personal data – such as names and address – for any commercial reasons, not just for taking photographs to perhaps more of an appointment based system that women are much more in control of.

Maybe I am being overly critical and am very militant about this subject, but I do think from the responses there have been on MN, the details in the documents about Trading Standards and financial crime and from the very defensive (and evasive) responses from the Trusts I contacted there is a case to be heard here.

I fully appreciate you may not agree, but would be really grateful if you could at least briefly cast your eye over this first before saying yes or no about whether you think there is anything you can/would like to help with.

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 11-Feb-13 23:35:16

Thanks very much for this.

We have actually been following the thread and we do absolutely take on board the strength of feeling here and we hope to come back to you with something on this very soon.

lagoonhaze Thu 21-Feb-13 21:36:25

MNHQ- could this thread be moved so we dont lose it please?

RebeccaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 22-Feb-13 13:18:53

Hi there,

We have moved this to Campaigns now so that it doesn't get lost.

HairyWorm Mon 06-May-13 10:30:03

Has a petition been set up?
I will be having my first in August and I don't want to be in a situation (when I'm a patient not a customer) of having to interact with anyone other than my family and HCPs unless I want to. Basically, I want to be left alone with DH and baby. I will be adding to my birth plan that I only want family and HCPs to have access to me and that we want privacy to bond as a family and establish feeding etc.

By all means let the Bounty Ladies and other reps set up an appropriately placed station on the unit where patients who want the service can go and get a pack and photo if they wish, or request the Lady comes to see them at their bed when they feel comfortable, but bed-to-bed is totally inappropriate.

A pattern I'm seeing on all forums relating to this subject is that mothers are not complaining to their hospitals when incidents occur and I completely understand why. It's probably the last thing on their mind. But this does allow Bounty to claim that no one minds.

Would it be possible to provide anything to make this process easier so mothers are more likely to provide feedback? I'm thinking of something like a standard form asking questions which cover the main complaints such as 'Did the Bounty representative identify herself clearly on introduction?'. Did the Bounty Lady mention the CB form contained in the pack was available elsewhere?. It could also include areas for giving further information such as specific complaints. I'm sure I've seen something on the internet before where you can do this (bit like an online survey) and then automatically send the whole thing to a specified email address - such as Bounty complaints??

I feel like I've been bombarded with marketing junk since I got pregnant and I can't even avoid the reps on the street anymore as being big and slow I'm an obvious target now! But, I'm prepared for them, I know exactly who they are and I can walk away. I hate the way that Bounty appears to be endorsed by the NHS by the MW providing the first pack. The first one didn't contain anything of interest but I thought I might miss out on something important if I didn't get the second pack. I'm really sceptical about marketing and I still felt that I should get it!!! I was about to fill out the form and toddle off to get my pack when I came across these threads. I won't be picking up any more packs!

Anyway, where's the petition?

I turned down my first Bounty pack of this pgy a few weeks ago at booking.

The mw was baffled. "It is full of coupons and information leaflets and freebies", she said, encouragingly. "I don't want them or need them," I replied.

But I have two DC already. I nearly killed the Bounty lady who ignored the "mother and baby sleeping" sign on my door and barged in to wake us both up - the first sleep I'd had in over 36h. I was fairly short with her, it is fair to say.

Hmm. Might consider putting "No Bounty" in my birth plan and discussing it in clinic. A calm, reasoned explanation of why I think it is awful might help.

loppylou10 Wed 15-May-13 16:54:05

I had my Bounty pictures taken. Initially i wasn't keen but they took some wonderful images and they were very reasonably priced. So please don't put a note on your curtain!

loppylou, have you read the thread at all? I know it is long, but it is worth a look.

There are other photographers, you know.

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