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Bounty Mutiny campaign: we're off to meet the Minister for Health...

(167 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 17-Mar-14 14:43:50


Hopefully most of you will know about Mumsnet's Bounty Mutiny campaign, which asks for commercial sales reps to be kept off hospital maternity wards.

We just wanted to let you know that a meeting has been arranged between Justine and Dr Daniel Poulter, Conservative MP and minister for the relevant part of the Department of Health.

Dr Poulter has expressed concern about this issue in the past, saying in a letter to NHS Trusts,

"I am asking you to review your practices for allowing representatives from private companies on maternity wards to assure yourselves that you are maintaining women’s dignity and respect shortly after the birth of a baby when they can be tired and vulnerable."

So we're looking forward to discussing the campaign with him and seeing what he has to say. We'll update you here to let you know how it went.

YoniMatopoeia Mon 17-Mar-14 16:47:32

Go Mumsnet!

MaryWestmacott Tue 18-Mar-14 09:39:19

Great news, thank you!

Can you point out that the one plus side for bounty staff, that they hand out child benefit forms, could be easily fixed by just putting the child benefit forms in with the red books? Or when you register the birth and are given half a tree's worth of paper a lot of leaflets, they could give the form then.

The Child Benefit forms should not be used as an excuse to keep them, esp as CB isn't a universal benefit anymore.

IceBeing Tue 18-Mar-14 09:43:10

That is good. I think I will spam my local hospital again as they promised to 'review' and then never got back to me.

CyberMuddle Tue 18-Mar-14 09:46:22

Great news! I'm due to give birth to DC1 any time in the next couple of weeks, and am genuinely nervous about the prospect of having to fend off some pushy sales rep-type just when I'm likely to be least able to do so.

FabBakerGirl Tue 18-Mar-14 10:35:14

I have read the stories on here and I am horrified at what some of the reps have put some new mums through. I only recall one Bounty visitor and she just said "here" giving me a bag and walked off. An hello would have been nice hmm.

Hippymama Tue 18-Mar-14 10:55:29

I'm due to give birth in the next few weeks and the more I think about bounty reps being allowed on the wards, the more it infuriates me. I was "lucky" not to have a pushy rep, but it still think they have no part on a maternity ward full of ladies at one of the most vulnerable times in their life.

I also think it is wrong that they have open access to the wards when members of our own families are not allowed to do the same. When the bounty rep came round after the birth of my first dc I was alone on the ward as it was outside visiting hours. My own family who had travelled over 90 miles to see me and my baby were waiting outside (not allowed in yet) as was my husband, yet the bounty rep was allowed to come in the ward? Completely wrong.

There is NO reason at all that they need to be there. The only "reason" in their defence would be the CB forms, but these could easily be given out with the red books. Official government forms should not be given out with marketing and promotional materials, especially as it makes it look like these companies are endorsed by the government.

projectbabyweight Tue 18-Mar-14 11:32:31

Completely agree with hippy. Best of luck Justine!

tribpot Tue 18-Mar-14 11:41:30

Not 'just' dignity and respect, although of course these are paramount. There is another thread on MN at the moment from someone whose personal details were clearly harvested by a Bounty rep from patient info which is necessarily readily available on the ward - the front of a chart, the whiteboard with the bed allocations, wristbands and so on.

Trusts have a duty of confidentiality which I cannot believe is compatible with having strangers on the ward who are not involved in patient care. Likewise a responsibility for physical security.

RedToothBrush Tue 18-Mar-14 11:41:33

This is awesome news! Hope it goes well!

SuffolkNWhat Tue 18-Mar-14 11:42:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bobthebuddha Tue 18-Mar-14 11:53:02

tribpot, Dr Poulter also expressed data harvesting concerns in his letter;

"Whilst it is beneficial to have accessible information available to women at a time when they are responsive to messaging... (he's referring to jabs, car seat info,CB etc here).... I am sure you will agree that it is unacceptable for parenting support organisations including Bounty to use this as an opportunity to collect private data and share it without the express informed consent of the parents."

Great to see someone in government taking this seriously. Hope the meeting goes well.

SuffolkNWhat Tue 18-Mar-14 11:59:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DinoSnores Tue 18-Mar-14 12:20:46

Great! Hope he really does take you seriously rather than this just being for show on his part.

MissRatty Tue 18-Mar-14 12:24:33

Plus the CB forms are available online...

Go peeps! Let's get rid of these vultures...I myself had a dreadful experience with them...not me personally, but I saw a woman who was totally out of it was coerced into giving her details and because she couldn't yet hold her child, saw the Bounty rep prop it up next to her and start snapping away.

PurplePidjin Tue 18-Mar-14 12:31:07

I didn't get a Bounty pack at all (no reps on our wards, hurrah!) but having to find out how to claim CB etc was just yet another PITA job I had to do with a new born. So there definitely needs to be a clearer and more reliable way to distribute them!

minipie Tue 18-Mar-14 12:49:13

Good progress! I really hope the reps get banned and not just asked to behave better. Maternity wards are overcrowded enough without unnecessary extra bodies bringing in germs and using the loos. There are sooo many other opportunities to give out the CB form.

While you are at it, please can you also mention the current practice of midwives signing women up to Bounty at their first antenatal appointment (the booking in appointment)?

I was asked by the midwife to fill out the Bounty form when I went for my first appt at about 10 weeks pregnant. I filled it out, because I was being asked by the midwife and I assumed it was an official hospital thing. Only later did I realise it was nothing to do with the hospital and I'd just signed myself up to a load of junk mail.

Why is precious , overstretched midwife time being taken up with furthering the interests of a commercial organisation angry?

parakeet Tue 18-Mar-14 13:27:52

Probably because the midwife gets some kind of a benefit out of doing so. Even if it's just a contribution towards the staff Christmas lunch.

RedToothBrush Tue 18-Mar-14 13:33:40

While you are at it, please can you also mention the current practice of midwives signing women up to Bounty at their first antenatal appointment (the booking in appointment)?

I've recently had mine, and even though I'm slightly nuts about this subject, when it came to the midwife handing over the pack I couldn't refuse and glanced at DH not to say anything as I was too embarrassed/not assertive enough to say no.

Fortunately, DH ignored my pleading look and politely declined the pack much to the midwifes surprise. She did ask why we refused, and DH just said that we strongly disagree with how Bounty operated. (Proud moment! I'm so glad DH has realised how I felt and how important this is to me). She had to remove the hospitals official stuff from the pack which had already been put in.

I wasn't asked to fill in anything though. TBH I'm slightly worried this has been done on my behalf automatically, as you weren't asked if you wanted one, it was assumed you would simply take one without question. There was also not one word about Bounty not being in any way associated with the hospital.

Because of this way the midwife tried to give it to us, I did feel under enormous pressure to take it. If you didn't know who Bounty were, from the word go, you could be under the impression that they were therefore endorsed by the NHS. Its just not appropriate for anyone wearing an NHS uniform to be giving them out - especially if they are not stating who Bounty are.

I suffer from severe anxiety as it is (which came up in the appointment and how I found it difficult to express my wishes at times as a result. I had been referred to Mental Health support and seen someone prior to getting pregnant because of my problems). Yet I was still given commercial information in these circumstances despite this. Whilst this isn't as bad as being on a post-natal ward, I don't really think its good practice when you are fully aware that a patient has particular issues which you have discussed not minutes previously.

My own reaction actually shook me up quite a lot and took me by surprise despite being so anti-Bounty and being so aware of how they work. I had made such a fuss beforehand that I wouldn't have one, then just crumbled. I don't hold any hope out of me being able to decline Bounty if they visit me on the ward... (though hopefully due to my circumstances this will be well covered in advance and not be an issue).

DH, despite me having gone on about the subject for so long, was completely stunned at how it actually played out. He was quite taken back by the whole process and how official it was, and how it was piggybacked with important information. He did say he felt quite ambushed himself and found it hard to stick up for me, especially when I clearly felt under pressure to accept because of the situation.

BTW Suffolk, thanks for your kind words smile, but I think there are plenty of other women who have done loads on this.

JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 18-Mar-14 13:59:17

Hi all,
So we had a full and frank meeting with health minister, Dan Poulter, during which the Minister agreed that the key issue was to protect women from undue harassment and invasion of privacy at a vulnerable time. As he said: "We have got to get to the point that nothing detrimental takes place on maternity wards to compromise the dignity and quality of women's care."

Dan Poulter agreed to the following actions:

1. To develop clear guidelines for individual NHS trusts on what constitutes good and bad practice and what can and cannot take place on maternity wards with regards to sales reps. The intention is to produce this (possibly in conjunction with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)) by this Summer and to share an initial draft in 2-3 weeks.

2. To write to Professor Sir Mike Richards, Chief Inspector of Hospitals, to ensure that the CQC undertake inspections on this specific issue, and to outline their plans for ongoing monitoring.

3. To write to NHS Trusts where Mumsnetters have shared examples of bad practice. (So please do let us know if you've had a bad experience with Bounty reps in your hospital, either on the boards or by mailing us at, so we can pass them on to the Minister.)

Thanks for all your input, please do share this news and we will keep you updated with any further developments #bountymutiny

bassingtonffrench Tue 18-Mar-14 14:31:16

i am really grateful you are doing this.

my bounty rep was pleasant but she woke me up. I had been in labour for three days and had not slept in that time. So I was pretty annoyed about that!

I am genuinely concerned about meeting bounty again after my next birth.

hunreeeal Tue 18-Mar-14 14:47:06

Well done and thank you MN!


BeCool Tue 18-Mar-14 14:47:45

it's the data collection I object to.

If a Bounty Rep wants to hand me a bag of samples etc on my way out the door of the maternity ward, no problem. However they can do this without having free reign of the wards.

Sneaking up on me with an air of authority and a 'right to be there', asking for my private details to add to a database to later SPAM me - completely not on.

PourMeSomethingStronger Tue 18-Mar-14 14:56:34

Well done MN. Sounds like a step in the right direction. As BeCool says. It's the data collection at a very vulnerable time that is the main issue.

CountessOfRule Tue 18-Mar-14 16:04:07

yy to sneaky data collection, wearing tunics so they look like hospital staff. Deliberately misleading.

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