DRUG-addicted former prisoners from outside Bournemouth are being referred to Boscombe every week, a doctor has said.
GP Dr Mufeed Ni’Man says his practice – the Providence Surgery in Walpole Road – receives weekly requests from the probation service to accept former prisoners on their register.
He said some of those referred, chiefly for drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment at various centres in the area, had been identified as “high risk” by his staff.
Dr Ni’Man, who expressed his concerns at this month’s Bos-combe Forum meeting, said: “These are people who have committed crimes, from the simple to the serious, and they include paedophiles and sexual predators.
“They come from all over and unfortunately most will have some alcohol and drug problems.
“We risk assess all patients – it is important to safeguard our staff and other patients. We don’t want aggressive or violent people in the waiting room.
“Some people are okay, others we assess and think they are high risk. But NHS England have said we have to take them.”
He said staff occasionally endured threatening behaviour and vandalism of their property.
“I have worked here for 12 years, most of our staff have been here even longer. We love the area – it is a challenge but a nice one,” he added.
“But it is getting worse, which is worrying, and bringing in more people with problems will not help.”
Ward councillor Christopher Wakefield said he has been assured by Dorset Police that only local residents on probation are being referred for treatment and housing in Boscombe.
“This is something we were assured wasn’t happening,” he said.
“It is really not appropriate to be sending people with multiple complex issues into Boscombe because of its own complex issues.
“We will be asking some serious questions of the police and the probation service.
“As far as NHS England is concerned, it is not the sort of thing they will comment to us about. But there may be a route through public health.”
A National Probation Service spokesman said the service and the Dorset, Devon and Cornwall Community Rehabilitation Company were “committed to the work of the Boscombe Regeneration Partnership” to prevent resettlement of offenders “without local connection”.
“Recovery programmes are delivered across the country and offender managers work closely with the offender to locate the most suitable course, away from the life of crime they led,” he said.
“Those who are managed under multi-agency protection arrangements will be risk assessed, monitored and supervised by probation, police and other agencies.”
He said statistics on the number of offenders in rehab in Boscombe were not available.
BOSCOMBE’S demographics are “unique”, with a transient population and low proportion of elderly people, Dr Ni’Man said.
“Our patient turnover is 35 per cent a year, whereas for the average practice it is around five per cent,” he said.
“The advantage of being treated by a GP is the continuity of care, but that doesn’t apply here as by the time we have put people on the books and assessed them they have moved on.”
Dr Ni’Man, who has been a GP in the area for 12 years, said the surgery was struggling with reduced government funding, and that where funding was available it was provided for care of the elderly.
“We have around 7,500 patients and only about 300 of them are over 65. We haven’t been complaining but we are reaching a stage where people won’t be able to access appropriate care.”
DORSET Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said that according to HMP statistics, only a “small amount” of non-Bournemouth residents were coming into Boscombe from prison, chiefly from London.
“Current guidance and legislation means that local authorities and prisons can house people from out of the area,” he said.
“There is little that elected officials or officers can do to regulate who is coming into the area.”
He said he, Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood and Bournemouth Council were lobbying government “for more control”.