Petition Closed
Petitioning Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter MP
This petition will be delivered to:
Health Minister
Dr Dan Poulter MP

Put an end to commercial 'parenting club' reps in maternity units

The hours after having a baby are an important time for mums and their partners to get to know their new baby, learn the skill of feeding and baby care and for the mum to recover from the physical effects of birth. This is a time for rest and recuperation and for the new family and their relatives and friends. 

Interruption from sales representatives there to pass on advertising material and extract data from mothers to sell on, is not something a new family needs. Yet in maternity units across the country this is what is happening, often within the first few hours of a baby being born.

Profit motivated parenting clubs such as Bounty are paying maternity units for the right to access their wards and approach mothers just hours after they have given birth. They are also allowed to take photographs of new parents with their babies that they then sell to parents. They generate a large profit both from the photographs and by selling the data they obtain from parents on to companies, who then shower parents with advertising and sales calls.

A survey by Mumsnet shows over half of new mothers felt the Bounty rep invaded their privacy on maternity wards.

Maternity Units are not the place for strangers selling their products. The government must stop allowing sales reps onto maternity wards. 


Letter to
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter MP
Put an end to commercial 'parenting club' reps in Maternity Units
The hours after having a baby are an important time for mums and their partners to get to know their new baby, learn the skill of feeding and baby care and for the mum to recover from the physical effects of birth. This is a time for rest and recuperation and for the new family and their relatives and friends.
Interruption from sales reps there to pass on advertising material and extract data from mothers to sell on, is not something a new family needs. Yet in Maternity Units across the country this is what is happening, often within the first few hours of a baby being born. Maternity Units are not the place for strangers selling their products in what is effectively a new mum’s bedroom. Taking photographs of parents with their new babies is an activity for family and friends, it should not be a business opportunity for parent club reps.

As one mum said “To be really honest with you, I was feeling so sideways after the birth of my son that when this lady popped her head around the curtain and started asking questions about the baby and how I was doing I just answered her. I didn’t even think twice about giving her various details about myself. When she suggested I might want a photograph I politely declined – we have a perfectly good camera of our own. I was quite shocked she was allowed onto the ward and I really hadn’t grasped the fact that she would be passing my personal details onto others – for money.”

Profit motivated parenting clubs such as Bounty are paying Maternity Units about £1 a mum for the right to access their wards and approach mothers just hours after they have given birth. They are also allowed to take photographs of new parents with their babies which they then sell to parents. They generate a large profit both from the photographs and by selling the data they obtain from parents on to companies, who then shower parents with advertising and sales calls. They also generate money by selling advertising space in the bags to other companies.

In 2011-2012 HMRC paid Bounty £90,805 to distribute Child Benefit Claim forms. Forms which are available at no cost to the parent via other routes.
There is an argument that in distributing the forms Bounty reps are 'legitimising' their presence on wards and making parents feel they have to accept the bags of advertising materials and give their details, which is enabling them to profit from selling on parents information. This is unacceptable.

We ask the government to:
1. Stop commercial parenting club reps accessing maternity wards to distribute 'new mothers' packs, take photographs and gather information
2. Find another route for distribution of Child Benefit Claim forms and make sure that parents are aware of their availability online.