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Biographical entry Slater, Nicholas Desmond (1954 - 2008)

MRCS 1977; FRCS 1982; MB BS London 1977; MS 1990; LRCP 1977.

10 March 1954
Sidcup, Kent, UK
8 September 2008
General surgeon


Nicholas Slater was a senior consultant surgeon at Lewisham Hospital, London.
Born in Sidcup, Kent on 10 March 1954, he was the only son of Henry, a marine plumber in the London docks, and his wife Mary. His two elder sisters were Carole, later Mrs Oates, and Dolores. Their father's only reading matter was Robert Tressell's The ragged-trousered philanthropists but education was treated with great respect in the family home. Nick attended St Mary's grammar school in Sidcup and studied at Guy's medical school passing the MB, BS in 1977. He trained in general surgery and later began to specialise in vascular surgery.

Appointed to the post at Lewisham Hospital in 1995 he was clinical director of surgery from 2003 to 2007. He enthusiastically embraced the new laparoscopic (keyhole) techniques and was reputedly one of the first surgeons in London to operate on HIV/Aids patients. Teaching regularly at Bart's, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals, he was extremely popular and was voted the best teacher of surgery by the students at Bart's in 1992. A passionate supporter of the NHS, he was trust leader for clinical risks at Lewisham and a member of the ethics committee. When asked what he would spend extra funding on were it to be available, he immediately replied "nurses". When asked to describe his job his reply was always "I just cut out the bad bits".

Interests included cosmology, photography, literature and music and the breadth of his knowledge was impressive. When he died of acute myocardial infarction on 8 September 2008 at the age of 54, he was survived by his partner Alison, son Henry and daughter Alice.

Tina Craig

Sources used to compile this entry: [Guardian 5 February 2009].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England