12/03/2010 09:16 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Should New Mums In Maternity Wards Be Bombarded By Companies Selling Them Stuff?

Hospitals have come under fire for letting more and more commercial companies into maternity wards to sell their products to new mums.

If you've given birth in a hospital recently, you'll probably have a vague recollection of hordes of people coming to bother you every five minutes.

Some ask for your details - address, phone number, email - while others try to sell you something directly.

Most hospital trusts have contracts with private firms, receiving fees or commission from them in exchange for allowing them access to patients.

So mums who have just given birth or are recovering from surgery can be bombarded by sales reps.

If you find you're being emailed by all sorts of companies afterwards, it's probably because you gave your details to somebody.

Bounty, for example, give out those lovely goody bags with lots of useful stuff in them - and then ask for your contact details, which they can sell on to other companies.

Bounty also now runs a photography service at more than 90 hospitals.

The National Childbirth Trust is campaigning for all private companies to be denied access to maternity wards.

It told the Times that new mothers are being exploited when they are vulnerable and emotional.

However the practice is lucrative for hospital trusts, which receive about £1 for each Bounty bag given out, so they are reluctant to turn them away.

A spokesman for the Department of Health told the Times: "It is for the local NHS to decide which companies are given access to their premises and which contracts with private firms are appropriate for the NHS environment.

"Goods or services should not conflict with the ethos and objectives of health and wellbeing."

Bounty told the Times mums had the freedom to choose. A spokesman said: "Every day nearly 100 per cent of new mums choose to receive our free packs containing vital health and public service information along with essential government resources for families. Bounty behaves responsibly and adheres to strict best practice guidelines."

What do you think? Should these companies be banned from maternity wards?

Source: The Times