Canadian Security Magazine

Suspect arrested after woman robbed at knifepoint in Regina hospital waiting room

The Canadian Press   

News Health Care

By Jeremy Simes

Premier Scott Moe’s government faced questions in the legislature after a woman was robbed at knifepoint over the weekend in a hospital waiting room.

“How did the minister let things get so bad in our (emergency rooms), that people are now being held up at knifepoint?” NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat told the assembly during question period Wednesday.

“People waiting in a waiting room have enough to worry about with long wait times in health care. Now, they have to worry about their own safety. It’s unacceptable.”

Moe responded by saying mental health and addictions issues often result in violent activities, and that his government is investing more in law enforcement to reduce the problem.

He touted his Saskatchewan Party government’s plan to spend millions of dollars on a new police service, which would work alongside other policing agencies.

“Through the strength of our economy in this province, we are able to make those investments,” Moe said.

The debate stems from a Sunday arrest at the Pasqua Hospital in Regina.

Police say a man allegedly held a knife to a woman, then demanded her belongings before fleeing with her handbag.

Hospital security guards apprehended the 34-year-old suspect, and the woman was not hurt.

Police allege the man was in breach of conditions to not possess knives.

Mowat told reporters nurses have long been raising concerns about violence in hospitals, and the province isn’t listening to them.

“I think we need to start by asking the people who are doing that work what they need,” she said.

Health Minister Everett Hindley said incidents requiring security are becoming more common in hospitals as there are more mental health and addictions patients needing help.

He said he has asked employees and the Saskatchewan Health Authority about whether more security measures are needed.

“This is an issue that’s been really stuck with me over the past number of weeks and months,” he said.

Saskatchewan Health officials say security reacted quickly and effectively after the robbery.

The health authority said security guards are on duty every day and at all hours, and are trained to respond to unusual and potentially harmful circumstances.

“Their quick actions helped to de-escalate the situation and keep people safe,” it said in a statement Wednesday.

“The (authority) has offered staff who may have been impacted by the incident access to support services.”

The accused made his first court appearance this week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2024.

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