Belfast Telegraph

Doctor Roisin Hamilton keeps her job after apology over drunken meltdowns

Dr Roisin Hamilton who has avoided being struck off for her behaviour
Dr Roisin Hamilton who has avoided being struck off for her behaviour
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

A Northern Ireland doctor who had a string of violent and alcohol-fuelled public meltdowns has avoided getting struck off after a grovelling apology to a disciplinary panel.

Haematology expert Dr Roisin Hamilton (38) was charged with misconduct after she was repeatedly arrested for attacks on police, airport officials and her husband between 2015 and 2018.

The mother-of-two was suspended last October but a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) disciplinary panel didn't strike her off after she admitted her actions were "abhorrent" and promised to atone for them.

Hamilton, who now lives in East Dumbartonshire, has not practised medicine since 2015 but she will be allowed to resume her career next week once her suspension formally ends.

The panel was told of three incidents which led to the doctor - who blamed her behaviour on alcohol addiction which developed after she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression - being suspended.

On one occasion a Duty Free airport worker had hot coffee thrown over him by Hamilton, who is currently working as a law firm receptionist, after she got drunk on vodka when her plane was delayed.

On another, police were called to her family home in Scotland when her estranged husband was forced to shut himself inside the property due to her intoxicated and violent behaviour.

On a third, a policeman was bitten by her after colleagues stopped her driving away from a hospital while drunk.

She also has a drink-driving offence for crashing while almost five times the limit.

Hamilton's most recent court appearance was in March 2018 when police arrested her for being drunk and abusive during a store opening at the Quays Shopping Centre in Newry.

While being detained, Hamilton dug her finger nails into one officer's arm and shouted: "F*** you!" before repeatedly punching a woman police constable.

The medic struggled so violently she had to be put in handcuffs and leg restraints before being placed in a cell to sober up. In March 2018 Hamilton, who is now divorced, admitted disorderly behaviour and assault on police and agreed to be bound over to keep the peace.

In a statement to the hearing, Hamilton said: "By returning to work and by being open and honest about my convictions and behaviour, people will be able to trust me - I do see that my actions were absolutely abhorrent but I have tried really hard to remediate and to not repeat them."

Regarding the Northern Ireland incident she said she was "absolutely horrified" by her actions and "completely ashamed at the distress" she had caused.

She added: "I cannot take back the harm I have caused by my behaviour but I can and will do whatever it takes to rebuild public confidence in the profession which I know I damaged by my actions. I firmly believe that I can contribute positively to society by practising as a doctor." MPTS panel chairman Chitra Karve said that while the tribunal considered Dr Hamilton's misconduct "has damaged public confidence in the medical profession" it was "impressed by the insight" she demonstrated "into the underlying causes for her misconduct, and the impact of her behaviour on others".

She added: "She has taken responsibility for her conduct and has been realistic, open, and frank in her evidence. She has made detailed expressions of regret and apology, and the Tribunal accepted that those expressions are entirely genuine."

A senior partner at the law firm that employs Hamilton told the tribunal of "her profound regret at the harm her behaviour has caused", adding: "She has a settled resolve that such situations will never reoccur."

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