Director slur dims Hope unit

November 15, 1996

The future of Liverpool University's eating disorder unit is in doubt following the retirement of its director.

Peter Slade retired from HOPE, the Help Overcome Problem Eating unit, in June after being suspended from membership of the British Psychological Society for two years. He was also suspended from the register of chartered psychologists for the same period. Professor Slade was found guilty by the society's disciplinary board of breaching five clauses in its code of conduct.

Graeme Geldart, the assistant executive secretary, said the committee met on May 30 after a formal complaint about Dr Slade was received.

Dr Slade continued to practise when his physical or psychological condition, as a result of alcohol and personal stress, impaired his abilities and personal judgement; exploited the special relationship of trust and confidence which existed in professional practice; and conducted himself in his professional activities in a way that damaged the interests of a recipient of his services, said Mr Geldart.

The 350 patients seen by HOPE or Dr Slade over the past five years have been informed and the university has set up a helpline.

A statement by Liverpool University said Dr Slade now had no connection with the university or with the Liverpool and Broadgreen hospitals NHS Trust.

A university spokesman said the department of clinical psychology, which administered HOPE, was still reviewing its future. He said current patients would complete treatment programmes, but no new patients were being accepted.

However, the opening on Monday of the Merseyside Eating Disorder Services seemed to signal the unit's demise. The new private partnership includes two HOPE staff and Pat Hartley, a psychologist from Manchester University.

Dr Slade was unavailable for comment.

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