altIf you believe the critics then pregnant women will soon be walking around the streets of the UK swigging Guinness and knocking back shots of Smirnoff.
Such is the response to Diageo’s move to invest £4m into training midwives and expectant mothers about the risks of drinking while pregnant.
You see the course is about the risks, not the rewards, but still the same old voices – the British Medical Association and Alcohol Concern – have used terms such as “deeply worrying” to describe Diageo’s involvement with the NHS.
Don Shenker, of Alcohol Concern went on to say that as the alcohol industry is backing the course it is “unaccountable and not necessarily based on evidence or public health guidance”. Right, a bit like the units system constantly referred to despite being based on a system largely pulled out of thin air.
The thing is as far as the health lobby are concerned alcohol is bad and nothing the industry does is of any moral or social use.
Does the industry get any credit for such initiatives as the millions invested into various sen sible drinking campaigns? For Introducing Challenge 21 and more recently Challenge 25? And now for giving the cash-strapped NHS a much needed financial lift?
No, no and no again, for Diageo and their sort are simply cast as the bad guys.
Instead the industry gets more flak which is all it will ever get when trying to work in this kind of arena.
I’m no defender of multi-national giants such as Diageo but on this occasion it seems the move was not as cynical as the healthy lobby are suggesting.
But they are in a lose-lose situation. Making huge profits is viewed as obscene, spending the money on education is considered inappropriate so what should they do with the cash?
Well maybe it was quite a wise investment because while they might get grief from the health lobby relations will improve with the current government who are of course keen for business to help out with this kind of scheme.
And, speaking as someone who has had fairly recent experience with NHS midwives, the extra training will only be of benefit to mums and dads to be.