Health regulators in the UK are planning to tighten control over firms’ practices to target new mums with marketing material, just hours after they have given birth.
The Independent on Sunday reveals that health minister Dan Poulter is determined to crack down on actions from representatives of such firms after a petition to stop these practices in hospitals gathered 25,000 signatures.
Poulter, who is also a hospital doctor, believes that hospitals need to think of ways to close their doors to representatives of such organisations in order to keep mothers undisturbed during such a vulnerable time. He told the paper that soon the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be empowered to act against maternity wards and birthing units which fail to ensure protection and comfort for new mums. Soon, reps of private firms will be banned from invading mothers’ privacy. Such invasions include passing on advertising material, pressuring them to join a parenting club/take part in professional photo sessions with their baby and provide personal information which is then sold to third-party organisations. Maternity wings that don’t comply with the rules will be issued warning notices and fines.
Meanwhile, a petition on change.org, calling for an end to private firm reps breaking new mothers’ privacy rights, has been signed by 21,000 people. Over 66 MPs have put their signatures on Commons motions related to the initiative. The health minister has also notified hospitals across the country to review their policies.