Ipswich: Hospital paid more than £13,000 in controversial cash-for-access deals

Ipswich Hospital in Health

Ipswich Hospital in Health

Ipswich Hospital made more than £13,000 last year through controversial cash-for-access deals allowing salespeople on to maternity wards, it has emerged.

A Freedom of Information request put into the trust by a national paper shows that between April 2012 and April this year, private firm Bounty paid the hospital a total of £13,651.

Childbirth charities have called for the cash-for access deals to be banned amid concerns about putting pressure on new mums.

But the hospital said every penny is reinvested into plans to improve maternity services at Ipswich.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said it was “completely inappropriate” for hospitals to allow salesmen and women onto the maternity wards, and even more “astonishing” that they were being paid for the access.

Ms Phipps also questioned whether the NHS was aware how much money Bounty and Tempest were making.

“We don’t think mothers should be subjected to any selling activity while they are in the hospital giving birth. We think it is inappropriate that these people are in there at all. They shouldn’t have face-to-face selling in a hospital.

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“They are making a lot of money from it,” she said, adding that the “endless stream” of advertising material reaches beyond maternity wards as it is also found in doctor’s wards and taken to pregnant mother’s homes by midwives.

An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said: “Every penny we receive from Bounty is spent on improving maternity services.

“It is a matter of choice whether any parents wish to use the service offered by Bounty. We have many positive comments about the photography service from parents.”

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