Bounty mutiny campaign: health care providers and academics lend their support




It's not only Mumsnetters who want to remove commercial representatives from maternity wards - many senior healthcare figures and organisations rallied behind the campaign too. Here's what some of them had to say.

  • It's clear that some parents are experiencing inappropriate and intrusive hard-sell tactics on NHS hospital wards. Many report that they've cooperated with sales reps, handing over personal information, believing that they were NHS staff. This cannot possibly be acceptable. Childbirth is a time when people are excited, but also - often - exhausted, disoriented, worried, and vulnerable. New parents deserve rest and support, not seedy sales tactics.
    Ben Goldacre
  • Our NHS should be a place where people can give birth or have treatments without commercial pressures. We need people to get fair information about health choices - not to get advertising where conflicts of interest aren't clearly stated or the downsides aren't explained - for example, there is no need to use any baby bath on a newborn's skin. We should be able to trust the people we come into contact with in the NHS - and not have to work out whether we are being sold something or not.
    Dr Margaret McCartney, GP
  • If you are in hospital and feeling vulnerable, uncertain or anxious the last thing you need is someone direct selling. For some this may simply be a nuisance. But if you are struggling with loss or have a serious health issue, such intrusions can have a long term negative impact on recovery and wellbeing.

    There is also the issue of consent and transparency. Health service users and their families should not be misled by commercial companies that their continuing care is dependent on providing personal data that will actually be sold on to a third party. Nor should those on low incomes feel they have to barter their personal information in order to receive free product samples.

    We should instead be finding better ways to support those in financial need and create more effective systems to keep patient care free of commercial intrusions, while highlighting healthcare funding cuts that are allowing this practice to continue.
    Petra Boynton, PhD, Lecturer in International Health Services Research, University College London 
  • Whatever you think about the involvement of private commercial companies in the NHS, the appearance of direct sales reps at the bedside surely falls on the wrong side of the line. Commercial reps are allowed access when dads, relations and breast-feeding counsellors are not; how can this be OK? Simon Singh, author and campaigner


Last updated: over 1 year ago