2014 update: CQC to review commercial sales reps on maternity wards, following Mumsnet's Bounty Mutiny campaign

Bounty MutinyWe're making strides with our Bounty Mutiny campaign.

In a letter to Justine Roberts, Dr Dan Poulter MP updated us on the actions the Department of Health has taken since our meeting in March 2014, and we're very glad to be able to tell you that the Care Quality Commission's maternity services inspections are now including questions about the presence and practice of commercial representatives on maternity wards for the first time, as well as asking women about their experiences.

Justine Roberts, CEO of Mumsnet said:

“We're pleased to see the CQC is taking steps to explicitly include the activities of commercial sales reps in their inspection processes. After a year of pressure from the Bounty Mutiny campaign, over 90,000 signatures on public petitions, support from medical professionals, and some truly shocking accounts of bad practice, what people really want is sales reps off our maternity wards; it’s obvious that regular inspections are at least a step in the right direction.”

Professor Sir Mike Richards, CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, said:

“Women who have recently given birth on maternity wards have a right to privacy and their dignity must be respected. This can be a vulnerable time for women and I agree that it is unacceptable for private data to be obtained without patients’ informed consent.

“As part of the new style inspections of maternity services, we will be checking up on this and asking women about their experiences of commercial representatives on maternity wards.”

Dr Dan Poulter MP, Under Secretary of State for Health, said:

“Shortly after the birth of a baby, women and their families can be tired and vulnerable, and the health system has a responsibility to protect people’s privacy and dignity. I want to make sure that women who have given birth feel comfortable in their surroundings, which is why I have written to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) asking them to ensure that they share good practice with trusts on allowing private company representatives on maternity wards.”

Andy Burnham MP also responded to our Bounty campaign in his recent webchat, saying "I would be happy to meet a group of you to see what changes might be needed."


More on the CQC changes

Since April 2014, CQC’s inspection teams have been using the following prompts when they visit maternity wards, as part of their wider inspections inspections of NHS hospitals to ensure women’s privacy and dignity is respected. The findings will be incorporated in the wider reports of the services.

  • Does the service work with any commercial company which offers women and families information and/or free samples and/or seeks to gather personal information from women and families?
  • How does the service ensure that when women and families are accessing maternity care they have the choice about whether they wish to be approached by such a company?
  • How does the service ensure that any company representative maintains privacy and dignity of women and families especially at those times when women may be more vulnerable?


For more information on the Bounty Mutiny campaign, go to:


Last updated: over 1 year ago