George Best's surgeon yesterday warned that increasing numbers of young women risk premature death by drinking to excess. Professor Roger Williams said female drinkers are a third less resilient to the effects of alcohol than men.
"Research shows that women cannot drink as much as men. If they do, they run into serious health problems," said Professor Williams, consultant hepatologist at University College London.
Women in England and Ireland are the world's biggest binge drinkers, with one-third of 17- to 30-year-olds classed as heavy consumers. The average number of female patients with drink-related organ damage that Professor Williams treats at any one time is five. This compares with an average of one a decade ago.
Srabani Sen, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: "Women have achieved a large degree of equality with men, but they don't understand how to drink safely."