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Doctor arrested over string of drunken assaults keeps job

A doctor who carried out a string of violent and drunken attacks over a three-year period has been allowed to keep her job after making a grovelling apology insisting she makes a ‘positive contribution to society’. 

NHS Haematology expert Dr Roisin Hamilton, 38, was repeatedly arrested for assaulting police officers, airport officials and even her own husband between 2015 and 2018.

The mother-of-two was suspended last October but a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service disciplinary panel decided against striking her off after she admitted her actions were ‘abhorrent’ and vowed to make up for them.

Hamilton, of Bearsden, East Dumbartonshire, has not practised medicine since 2015 but will be allowed to resume her career next week once her suspension formally ends.

The panel was told her misdeeds included biting a police officer who tried to stop her driving away from hospital while drunk and pouring hot coffee over an airport duty free worker after a flight was delayed by three hours.

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

Her most recent court appearance came in March 2018 in Northern Ireland after punching a female police officer repeatedly and digging her nails into the arm of another after she was arrested for drunk and abusive behaviour at the opening of a new store at the Quays Shopping Centre in Newry.

The doctor – who is currently working as a law firm receptionist – struggled so violently she had to be put in handcuffs and leg restraints before being placed in a cell to sober up. 

But the charges were dropped after she agreed to be ‘bound over’ – meaning she pledged to change her behaviour to avoid punishment.  

In a statement to the hearing Hamilton, who had previous blamed her behaviour on a long standing alcohol problem, 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 incident in Northern Ireland, she added: ‘I have read the statements of the three police officers called to the incident on that day and I am absolutely horrified at my actions.

‘I am completely ashamed at the distress and alarm I caused the police officers and members of the public who witnessed my behaviour. 

‘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 professional which I know I damaged by my actions.

‘I firmly believe that I can contribute positively to society by practising as a doctor.’

She added: ‘My goal remains to return to medicine and my career aspirations are in haematology but I am entirely open to other opportunities in different areas of medicine.

‘I am realistic that I will not be able to return to the same job at the same level as I was at in 2015. If I return to working as a doctor, I know that the most important thing will be to have the right support and supervision systems in place.’

‘I have learned a lot about myself over the last few years and over the last year I have made changes and put in place several effective coping strategies for whenever things get tough. I am realistic that any future return to work would not be a simple process.

‘I know that other medical professionals, patients and the public would have serious reservations about me working again as a doctor. Not only because of my prolonged absence and loss of skills but also because of my history of criminal convictions and suspension from the medical register.

‘Understandably there would be grave concerns about my fitness to practice and the safety of patients in my care. I know that if I am given the opportunity to practise medicine again, I will need to build trust with my future colleagues, patients and the public at large.

‘This will be a long process and will involve me being open and transparent about my past. I can only hope that by demonstrating that I taken responsibility for my actions, tried hard to remediate and not committed any further crimes that I can be given a second chance at my career.’    

The incidents began in June 2015 after Hamilton, who worked at Aberdeen and Glasgow hospitals, completed a Masters Degree in Haematopathology.

Staff at a Glasgow hospital had seen her approaching her car while drunk and persuaded her to hand over the keys. But Hamilton then became aggressive when police arrived at the scene and she bit an officer’s finger as he asked to take a breath test.

At the time Hamilton was fined £980 and banned from driving for a year after she admitted failing to provide a breath specimen and assault on police.

The following year she was arrested again after being seen stumbling in the duty free area at Glasgow Airport while waiting for a flight to Northern Ireland where she was due to attend rehab.

After it was delayed, she vomited on the floor and became aggressive, throwing ‘scalding-hot’ coffee at a duty free worker and swearing at other staff, shouting ‘F*** off, I’ll kill you’. 

She was arrested again later in 2016 following a bust up with her then husband who called police when she tried to force her way into their home after he threw her out for being drunk. 

During the row, Hamilton repeatedly struck, kicked and scratched him on the head and body and threw a desk organiser at the property.

She was convicted of assault and threatening behaviour in January 2017 over the offenses and was handed 200 hours of unpaid work and a supervision order. 

The following August she was was arrested again for drink driving in Armagh, Northern Ireland, after crashing into a fence and wheelie bin while almost five times the limit.

She admitted the offence at court the next month and was fined £300 and banned from driving for 18 months.

Then in February 2018 she was found drunk and slumped on the floor by security staff at the Quays Shopping Centre in Newry.

When an ambulance arrived she began swearing and shouting and lashing out with her arms.

Police officers tried to remove Dr Hamilton from the shopping centre but she then tried to escape after being put in the back of a squad car while officers went to retrieve her belongings.

When another officer tried to search her she scratched his arm, and then when she was put back in the car she repeatedly punched another officer sat next to her before finally being placed in handcuffs and leg restraints.  

MPTS panel chairman Ms Chitra Karve said: ‘The tribunal considered Dr Hamilton’s misconduct has damaged public confidence in the medical profession. 

‘However it was impressed by the insight demonstrated by Dr Hamilton into the underlying causes for her misconduct, and the impact of her behaviour on others. 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.’

The senior partner at the law firm where Hamilton has been working also spoke on her behalf in a statement to the tribunal, saying: ‘Roisin has described to me her profound regret at the harm her behaviour has caused in the past both to her profession and to the public.

‘All indicators show objectively that Roisin has gained complete insight into the serious situation which occurred over the relevant time. She has a settled resolve that such situations will never reoccur.’

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