Homerton Hospital reviewing contract with firm that flogs baby photos to new mothers on maternity wards

Homerton Hospital.

Homerton Hospital. - Credit: Archant

Homerton Hospital is reviewing its contract with a pregnancy firm that is allowed access to maternity wards to offer new mothers professional photographs of their babies.

Bounty UK has contracts with more than 100 hospitals in the UK to sell photos and flog care products. Its representatives approach new parents to give out 'Bounty bags' containing samples and vouchers.

Last year Bounty was fined £400,000 by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for illegally sharing personal information belonging to more than 14 million people with third parties.

Since then trusts have started ending contracts with the firm, which has been operating since 1959.

At a board meeting at Homerton Hospital last month, Lucy Purdon of charity Privacy International asked NHS bosses what action they took as a result of the ICO decision, and whether the contract would be reviewed.

The contract was up for renewal in January, but a Homerton University Hospital Trust spokesperson told the Gazette it had not yet been renewed.

'We are reviewing the contract given the issues raised by Privacy International, particularly over the issue of access to our maternity wards,' they said.

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Lucy welcomed the news, and called on Homerton to follow the lead of other trusts.

She told the Gazette: 'I am delighted that Homerton are reviewing their contract with Bounty.

'I hope the trust concludes that sales and marketing companies have no place on maternity wards and terminate the contract for good, in line with the growing number of trusts around the UK that have already done so for this reason.

'I can't believe I'm having to say this, but the hours after giving birth are private.'

Bounty UK paid the Homerton £5,277 in 2017/18. The terms of the contract state before sales representatives are allowed on site, they must agree to a 'bedside code of conduct'.

Bounty UK did not respond to a request for comment.