The drinks maker has pledged a “six figure” sum to fund training for 10,000 midwives, who will educate pregnant women about safe alcohol consumption.
It is hoped that more than 1 million women will receive training over three years.
The Department of Health-backed scheme will be run by the National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS). In a statement on its website, NOFAS says the initiative aims to provide “useful positive health information about the consumption of alcohol in pregnancy to midwives…”.
Diageo’s involvement is part of the DoH’s “responsibility deal” with the alcohol industry. The Government wants the private sector to help pay for public information campaigns in exchange for no new regulation.
The company’s funding of the initiative has attracted criticism from health bodies.
Professor Ian Gilmore, chairman of Alcohol Alliance UK, says: “To really make a difference, education and information must be backed-up by tougher action on the price, availability and marketing of alcohol.”