Health bosses insist “lessons have been learned” following the disappearance of patients from Tayside’s main secure psychiatric hospital last year.
Murray Royal Hospital in Perth came under fire in December when it emerged there were 22 instances of patients absconding between January and November. Seven of those involved five patients from the secure Rohallion unit.
While NHS Tayside declined to discuss individual cases, it is known that one of those patients was a schizophrenic who knifed a man to death in a drug-fuelled attack in East Lothian 16 years ago.
Brownlie was treated in the State Hospital at Carstairs for a time before transferring to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and then on to Perth.
Last May he managed to give escorts the slip while on a trip from the hospital.
He was apprehended in Edinburgh two days later.
An NHS Tayside spokeswoman said: “Each incident is subject to a local review if the incident has identified any issue with staff knowledge and understanding then additional training and development will be implemented to address any gaps.
“This has resulted in a significant drop in the number of incidents in the last year.”
The number of absconders reduced in 2014 compared to the previous year when there were 55 incidents.