Sydney Morning Herald
Psychiatrist waits on medical tribunal to decide on complaints
September 20, 2013

Psychiatrist Robert Hampshire

Psychiatrist Robert Hampshire

Society psychiatrist Robert Hampshire has been accused of professional misconduct, practising without professional indemnity insurance and failing to meet strict conditions placed on his registration, including making daily visits to a doctor to ensure he was “fit to practise” before seeing patients.

The accusations come almost 20 years after he was found guilty of professional misconduct in December 1994 for stealing prescription forms he then forged to feed his pethidine addiction. Struck off for two years, he was not allowed back on the medical roll until 1999.

The NSW Medical Tribunal is expected to make its latest findings next week after hearing complaints lodged by the Health Care Complaints Commission, accusing him of practising without insurance for more than 18 months in 2008-09, in contravention of the Health Care Liability Act.

Hampshire admitted he had been uninsured, but described his practice as “disorganised” and “chaotic”, blaming a subsequent diagnosis in December 2009 of brain swelling, which he said was caused by high blood pressure.

The commission has also accused Hampshire of failing to meet conditions placed on him in May 2010 by the NSW Medical Board, including repeatedly exceeding a 25-patient-a-week limit.

He denied accusations that he had failed to be assessed as “fit to practise” by a registered medical practitioner approved by the board, a condition of his medical registration, on at least 20 days between October 2010 and May 2011.

These latest accusations against Hampshire coincide with his pleading guilty to charges of negligent driving in November 2010, driving while suspended and driving with a low-range blood alcohol level. The court heard he had consumed vodka until 4am and taken 15 anti-hypertensive tablets for a chronic heart condition.

Witnesses told the court they observed Hampshire in a ute crashing into a stop sign and trees at 9.20am. Arguing he was suffering from “automatism”, Hampshire was placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond.

The incident took place just weeks after PS reported he crashed his ute into a parked car in Macleay Street, Potts Point.

In 2009 assault charges against him were dismissed after he was accused of punching his then partner, Elizabeth Burke, as the couple boarded a domestic flight. Burke described the allegation as untrue and Hampshire’s arrest as an “overreaction to a non-event”.

In the ’80s and ’90s Hampshire was prominent on the Sydney social circuit, and in 1998 made headlines by paying a record $11.5 million for the Point Piper mansion Altona with then wife Sally.