Psychiatric patient's escape in Calgary raises questions

Alberta Health Services remains tight-lipped about its rules surrounding escorted outings for psychiatric patients.

Ranjit Singh, who was found not criminally responsible for bludgeoning his father to death in 2009, escaped Friday while on a supervised outing from the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre.

Police picked him up in a hotel an hour and a half later.

AHS says it's conducting a quality assurance review, adding it will look into the policies in place and whether they were followed.

However, a spokesperson tells CBC no details will be released while the review is underway.

"AHS has policies in place for all supervised and unsupervised passes, as well as protocols for both ground and off-ground privileges," said spokesperson Don Stewart. "All privileges [and] passes ... must be granted by the Alberta Review Board upon hearing evidence from the treatment team, Alberta Justice, defence counsel, the patient, family and victims."

The Alberta Liberal Party is calling for more transparency on the matter.

Liberal health critic MLA David Swann, who represents Calgary Mountain View, says the public has a right to know.

"I'd also like Alberta Health Services to come clear with what it is their standard protocol for dealing with a forensic, dangerous, psychiatric patient and how this could have happened," he said.

Swann calls Singh's escape disturbing, disappointing "and [it] potentially put the public at risk."

On the weekend Alberta's Wildrose Party made similar calls.

"The minister of health should really come forward and put forward a protocol for the psychiatric patients. This is dealing with public safety and security, so it should be a combination of the minister of health as well as the minister of justice to ensure that Albertans are protected in these types of situations," said Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw.

A spokesperson for the health minister says Fred Horne will not comment on the issue as Alberta Health Services is responsible for the protocols.

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