An article by Margaret McCartney published in the BMJ reveals that trusted organisations are profiting by selling on personal data of women and new parents for commercial interest and promotions, such as Bounty packs.
In response to this, NCT’s Chief Executive Belinda Phipps said:
“Our evidence shows that although the contents of the Bounty packs may seem helpful to some new parents, the majority of the women who receive them are unaware that their personal information and contact details will be sold on for commercial purposes.
“This practice is highly questionable. Staff from organizations such as Bounty are invading personal space at an extremely vulnerable time for families to increase their profits by distributing advertising material, collecting data and selling it on. Representatives pose as helpful and may distribute samples which are welcomed by some, but their focus is not the welfare of the woman and her baby. In the hours after they have given birth, women are often very tired, highly emotional and focused on building a bond with their new baby. They need to be in an environment with assured privacy and surrounded by only those they can fully trust to put their interests first.
“This commercially-driven manipulation of new parents inside the hospital maternity unit is potentially damaging at what should be a peaceful and happy time. NCT would like to see severe restriction on this sort of selling by profit driven companies to new parents on NHS premises.”
Media Coverage Highlights:
A survey carried out by NCT in January 2010 reveals that 51% of parents thought that photographic sales representative shouldn’t be allowed access to women giving birth in hospital and 86% of parents said that they were unaware that commercial companies could pay maternity units to gain access to women giving birth in hospital. Parents were also asked if whether or not they would like the NCT to take action with regard to three main commercial activities taking place in hospital. The majority of those who responded to this question wanted NCT to take action to prevent sales representatives from accessing them in hospital and prevent commercial companies asking for contact details at 72% and 87% respectively.