Attempts to tackle alcohol abuse in Manchester have angered local publicans.

A scheme has provided an alcohol specialist nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary to counsel heavy drinkers.

But the nurse also asks patients where they consumed their alcohol and information is then passed to Greater Manchester Police to help it take action against pubs, clubs and off-licences that have been selling alcohol irresponsibly.

If the year-long pilot scheme is successful it is planned to be extended to other casualty departments in the North West.

But the scheme, a partnership between Manchester primary care trust, Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals trust, the city council, and Greater Manchester Police. has been criticised by pub and club owners who fear their premises may become blacklisted by drinkers who bear a grudge.

Phil Burke, chair of the Manchester Pub and Club Network, which represents 600 licensed premises in Greater Manchester, said: 'We think it's a very bad idea.

'If someone has a grievance against a premises, after being thrown out or refused service, a responsible licensee could find a blemish on their record through no fault of their own.

'It's dangerous because the police now have greater powers and licensees' livelihoods are at risk. It could lead to legal challenges. The vast majority of licensees in the city act very responsibly and work well with the police, local authorities and each other.'

He added: 'What you find is that a lot of people get drink from supermarkets and off-licences before they come out. Both should be targeted to reduce binge drinking and underage drinking.'

But the scheme was defended by Liz Burns, of Manchester's NHS Drink Responsibly Project.

'This is vital for us in Manchester, where alcohol-related liver disease is set to overtake coronary heart disease as the major killer unless drinking levels start to moderate,' she said.

Government statistics show that deaths from liver disease in Manchester stand at twice the national average, with 30 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women drinking more than the recommended weekly alcohol limits.