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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Bounty sales reps in hospitals. A feminist issue?

36 replies

BeyondTheLimitsOfAcceptability · 12/06/2013 19:34

Try as I might, I cant understand why anyone would think it is okay to have salespeople on a postnatal ward, whether they are nasty and giving the hard sell as a large percentage of MNers seem to have experienced , or even nice and "just" giving out the packs.

It wouldnt be allowed to happen anywhere else in hospital, so why the PN ward? And why are so many people not only happy with it, but defending it to those who are unhappy?

what do you think?

OP posts:
HullMum · 12/06/2013 22:32

Yes it's a feminist issue. Especially where many women are saying it has caused they distress but they are supposed to take it. It wouldn't happen on any other ward.

Anyone else remember a really nasty thread where women who said they wern't comfortable with male doctors or midwives doing internals being told they should "get over it"?

And called sexist best of all.

So 1/4th of women in this world are sexually attacked and all women in this world are taught not to uncover themselves to men...but if they suddenly feel uncomfortable letting a straneg man put their hand up their fanjo..wel they are the sexist ones. and should get over it.

I remember one man person saying that it was necessary even for rape kits etc if say only a man was available. Even if a woman had been assaulted she should have to sub lit to a rape kit from a man for justice to be served even if it could be equally traumatic at that point as the actual rape. And thy all said it was sexist for health authorities to hire enough women to provide these services. Because you know there are obviously so many more qualified men to stick their hands up women's fannies that to hire an appropriate amount of women would be unfeasible.

Oh and it was the same as refusing a person based on race. Angry

Suck it up woman.

I went off topic there, but it still makes me furious.

Spiritedwolf · 13/06/2013 17:24

Yes its a feminist issue. I am not aware of sales people going around wards with male patients, pulling back privacy screens, trying to sell things to men who have just undergone major abdominal surgery, perhaps who have had blood loss, or still have a catheter attached. Men who have just had to pass gall stones aren't (to the best of my knowledge) asked to give up their personal details to marketing companies, or have them stolen from their notes 'because they were busy'. Perhaps, the NHS could earn some money by allowing companies selling insurance, stairlifts, or mobility scooters to wards of older men.

I think that it's partly that the arrival of a new human being is such a time for celebration (and apparently therefore a commercial opportunity) that more emphasis is on the cute baby, than on the woman who has perhaps had medical proceedures, and will be physically and usually emotionally vulnerable.

It is (or should be) an intimate time for the parents to bond with the newbaby, perhaps learning to feed him/her, and for the woman to recover from birth/section. I think it is completely inappropriate to sell to women at this time, as not only can they be physically vulnerable, even if the birth has gone smoothly, physiologically their bodies are prepped to bond with the new infant, and so they might be feeling more well disposed towards any commercial offer than they would otherwise be.

Although the MN campaign doesn't seem to highlight this, I'm certain that a previous MN discussion about the issue pointed out that selling to people who are vulnerable and in a private space (you know, like in a hospital bed) is against existing direct selling guidelines.

To those who think of the bounty packs as just a goodie bag, maybe they sho-uld look at the contents of the Finnish box for new mums and then decide whether they are being sold a bit short for a tiny tub of sudocrem and marketing rubbish.

HotSoupDumpling · 13/06/2013 18:12

I think so.

Like posters have said, it wouldn't happen on any other ward.

It seems to me to be connected to the perception that birth is 'natural' and the pain (and sometimes trauma) of birth is something women just have to 'get over'. Women are treated as incubators and not as people (hence why all the celebration when a baby is born - so many grandparents go straight for the baby, completely ignoring what the woman has gone through).

Hence it's logical that while recovering from birth they are not properly regarded as true patients - patients who may have suffered a lot and need emotional and physical care, including being shielded from random strangers trying to sell them things.

BeyondTheLimitsOfAcceptability · 13/06/2013 20:10

Yep, you are all articuating my vague feeling much better than I could!

OP posts:
HullMum · 13/06/2013 21:25

Yes, how many people on here have been in tears at the idea of being descended upon by family in the delivery room..and told to get over it! they are there to see the baby. As though the woman on the bed is just a convenient milk supply for the new baby

alcibiades · 13/06/2013 21:42

I've been reading the Bounty threads ever since they started here. I was appalled by what I was reading. But I couldn't really relate to those accounts, because my children were born back in the late 1970s. I think we might have been given Bounty bags, but I can't be certain, and anyway recalling whether we did or not is very low down on the list of things to remember after so long.

But, reading this particular thread, and thinking if this is a feminist issue, I got a flashback to those days, and thought: damn sure it's a feminist issue.

Back then, drugs were administered and examinations carried out, without any regard whatsoever of the concept of consent. In fact, I only found out what drugs had been given me because the woman in the next bed, who was a nurse, had asked, and she had been told, because she was a nurse.

Many years later, on doing some research once I'd got access to the internet, I discovered that back then the Medical Defence Union had stated their view that once a pregnant woman stepped over the threshold of the maternity hospital she was to be regarded as thereby giving her implicit consent to every treatment/drug the consultant decided on. Hence, no information, and no discussion.

Fast-forward to the current Bounty issue. Of course any woman can say no to the Bounty rep, but there have been too many instances where women didn't know they had that right, too many instances where women couldn't easily identify the Bounty rep as being a rep rather than a HCP, too many women feeling pressured into giving personal information to someone who they didn't know wasn't an HCP, and so on.

In those hospitals which allow Bounty reps on the wards, no woman has given her implicit consent by stepping over the threshold to being approached by a sales representative. It shouldn't be the default response that a woman can say no; the default response should be that no woman should have to.

It's a horrible flashback to the times when consultants/hospitals made all the decisions, and women had no say.

LineRunner · 13/06/2013 22:52

Yes it is a feminist issue.

It is bloody disgraceful that women are being harassed on NHS premises, where no man or child would be allowed to be harassed.

I think the undercurrent is that women are expected to present a little gift-wrapped present of their baby to everyone else, regardless of their own health, welfare and wishes. It's that culture that permits the obscene commercialisation of the invasion of women's privacy by a public body.

NiceTabard · 14/06/2013 00:10

I definitely think they should be banned.

I had cs with both of mine, and so was on the "being slightly more closely looked at" ward, on morphine and with catheter.

The bounty women came and did full on Hard Sell.

In what world is it OK for people who are post operative and high as kites on opiates to be accessed by hard sell people?

they are absolute FUCKERS IMO

They talked me into more than I wanted (DD1 - I could only have a bag if I gave them my name phone number email etc) but the women in the beds around me coughed up for £££ photos while they were ill and drugged and the sales technique was proper full on Hard Sell.

Honestly I hate them.

What can I do to support MN campaign?

HullMum · 14/06/2013 02:50

Is there no law against selling to the obviously vulnerable?

HullMum · 14/06/2013 02:51

as in recently bereaved/off their tits from drugs after surgery

FairPhyllis · 14/06/2013 07:13

Yes, it's a feminist issue.

I don't understand how they can possibly be getting proper consent to hold personal information. Loads of women must be in pain/distressed/still on strong drugs and fairly vulnerable. Isn't there any part of a data collection/protection law that prevents this?

Would any other post-surgical ward allow direct selling to patients? I think not.

BeyondTheLimitsOfAcceptability · 14/06/2013 08:30

Yes, its been mentioned on the other threads it is against the law. Being cared for on a hospital ward defines you as vulnerable, and it is illegal to sell to someone who is vulnerable (just the same as being illegal to enter into a contract with a child!), plus apparently it can also contravene your "right to privacy" according to the ECHR people who have more knowledge than me have explained both of these in detail

The thing that is concerning me about the whole thing, is the amount of people who are defending it!

OP posts:
HotSoupDumpling · 14/06/2013 08:41

I think some women confuse their personal feelings and experiences ('my rep was lovely', 'I was happy to have a photo taken', 'I just said no and they left') with the concept that:

  • women experience birth and recovery differently
  • the fact that in their individual cases they were confident or happy with their Bounty experience doesn't negate any of the arguments made against the general Bounty concept.

I think this happens all the time during feminist arguments. Some people who've not experienced e.g. work discrimination or sexist banter, or who can deal with it happily, can't get their heads around the fact that it seriously affects other women.
Llareggub · 14/06/2013 08:42

I started a mini revolution on my ward when I told the Bounty rep to leave me alone. She approached me when my baby was trying to latch on. I told her to bugger off and there was a stunned silence on the ward. One by one the other women refused to talk to her too. It was almost as if by one person refusing the others realised that we didn't have to talk to the Bounty woman.

But yes, I do think it is a feminist issue. Incidentally the hospital was closed to visitors due to norovirus but somehow this didn't seem to apply to Bounty. I wonder why?

HotSoupDumpling · 14/06/2013 08:46

The petition is here:

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper · 14/06/2013 08:54

How did Bounty get the gig?

Do they have competitors?

How did it all come about, in the first place? Anyone know?

It's a rather major PR coup.

It kind of seems preposterous, when you think about it. And yet there they are, in every post-natal ward, flogging their wares...

And yes, definitely a feminist issue.

Xenia · 14/06/2013 09:19

There are individual contracts between Bounty and hospitals around the country. I think they are mostly exclusive - so only Bounty and not their competitors are allowed in (actually that is probably better than a free market with 4 companies roaming round maternity units snapping photos).

Some hospitals have always refused to have them in even though the contract may be worth £50k or £100k in revenue.

On the issue someone raised above about consent and labour etc there was a useful case around 15 years ago where courts held as a woman in labour you can give a valid consent and even refuse treatment including a life saving C section if you want which I found very comforting in labour.

However I do not think it is illegal for hospitals to allow Bounty people on to wards. If the rule is that you ask consent before taking the picture and the mother can send you away I suspect it will be inside the law (just) under the Data Prtoection Act 1998 and Human Rights Act although I would prefer hospitals to refuse Bounty and other reps entry.
Cannot see much on line about their competitors. Here is an article from 2009 about Bounty

LineRunner · 14/06/2013 15:43

xenia I don't know if you know the answer to this, but it relates to cold calling and trespass.

If a cold caller comes to my door and I say 'No, go away,' then they have to go away or they are trespassing. Does the same apply if I am lying in a hospital bed or cubicle? Is that a trespass?

Just wondering.

Xenia · 14/06/2013 15:55

You don't own the floor around your hospital bed so it's not trespass. It becomes trespass if the hospital bars the person from the hospital and they come in nevertheless.
You are more likely to get further with privacy rights - if you say I do not consent to being photographed or your taking any details about me please leave now and they persist then they could be in trouble. I suspect they would tend to run away pretty fast if you said that to them anyway.
Another tactic if patients are allowed mobiles would be to take pictures and record the Bounty people as they go round the ward which is likely to put them off too but might end up causing a bit of trouble so might not be wise.

HotSoupDumpling · 14/06/2013 17:19

I haven't examined all possible arguments but from what I've seen I agree Xenia that it's not illegal for hospitals to allow Bounty reps, or for Bounty reps to do what they do.

Trespass - not private property as Xenia said
Consent to enter into a contract - it's a bit of an own-goal (feminism-wise) to say that vulnerable women can't effectively give consent to Bounty reps to take their photos.
Privacy - probably the best one to run with.

Nonetheless, it is immoral and inappropriate regardless of legality, which I think is a red herring. The pressure on NHS/Government should focus on the moral point.

NHS hospitals say in their constitution that 'Every individual who comes into contact with the NHS and organisations providing health services should always be treated with respect and dignity.'. There is no respect or dignity being shown to a woman who has just given labour if a stranger is allowed to approach her IN BED (where she may be knickerless/still bleeding/incontinent etc) without prior consent.

Sorry, off the feminism point for a moment there!

Vegehamwidge · 14/06/2013 17:39

It definitely is. This makes me so angry - wtf would you think of going in to a hospital and try to sell things to the ill or vulnerable people there? Shouldn't it be a sanctuary from such things? Why would you WANT to go in and try to sell things to someone who gave birth to a baby a few hours ago - it just seems so cold-hearted and disrespectful

LineRunner · 14/06/2013 18:31

Good points above about the ability to consent angle. It'd be an own goal to argue that women lose their consenting abilities, ever, tbh.

To my mind the issues really are that

(a) these Bounty fuckers shouldn't be in the hospital in the first place because it's a nasty commercialisation of the NHS, and

(b) they shouldn't be targeting women with new-born babies, and

(c) they shouldn't be pretending to be part of the staff and entitled to personal information because they wouldn't get away with this on any other ward, and

(d) the actual staff shouldn't collude with this, and

(e) these fuckers shouldn't have any connection whatsoever with handing out child benefit application forms which apparently is common, and HMRC should stop colluding and stop giving Bounty the forms.


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NiceTabard · 14/06/2013 19:01

have signed petition.

really really hate this.

Xenia · 14/06/2013 19:30

Yes and a case held a woman in labour can give consent or withhold it even to a C section which is a tremendously important case, a right ni effect to your own body.

On are there laws against selling to vulnerable people, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 require that your marketing must not be misleading and it needs to be appropriate for the kind of person to whom it is directed (eg if to young children you need to be clearer than to adults etc.).

My view is that most of the time Bounty operate within the law. hey may have the occasional far too persistent salesperson and if that person takes data without consent of photographs babies whilst mothers are unconscious that is not lawful but the basic Bounty set up is lawful.. However as a matter of public pressure and on moral grounds if hospitals fees they can manage without the Bounty money it would be better if reps were kept out of hospital wards. It think it is amazing they give out child benefit forms - real muddying of the waters between state provision and commerce. You would have thought you could get the form on line these days or just send a husband to a post office to get it as we did.

LineRunner · 14/06/2013 19:33

Yes, the child benefit form is indeed online, Xenia, someone posted the link on the other thread.

That's what the hospital ward staff should be telling people.

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