Swaledale doctor sleeps in surgery to keep service running

Reeth Medical Centre, with Mike and Marie Brookes, inset.

A Swaledale GP has slept at his surgery in order to make sure patients are treated.

Dr Mike Brookes has camped overnight at Reeth Medical Centre this week to ensure he is available to see patients.

Wife and practice manager Marie has also stayed at the surgery, meaning their two children have had to stay with family.

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The couple live in Cumbria and were concerned the snow would prevent them getting over the Pennines to work.

Marie said: “We must be one of the few practices with a bad weather standard operation procedure.

“The isolated location can mean it is difficult for staff to get in and also difficult for the emergency services to operate.

“We have provided year round voluntary support for emergencies to Yorkshire Ambulance Service for the last 11 years.”

Marie added: “When the weather is really bad, the only way to ensure we can provide critical services is to camp at the surgery.

“We keep rations and sleeping bags on site for this eventuality.”

It is not the first time they have had to stay at the surgery, which has an outstanding rating from the Care Quality Commission.

“This will usually be a few days a year,” said Marie.

“This isn’t the first job where we have had to camp – both of us served in the Army Medical Services in Iraq. By comparison, at least the surgery has a few creature comforts.”


  1. Well done Dr Mike Brookes and your lovely wife. That is true dedication to your patients and so pleased you are my Dr.

  2. I feel so fortunate to be registered at this practice. What a team. Nothing is ever too much trouble even down to sleeping over at the surgery to ensure there’s a doctor to see. How reassuring is that? Thank you.

  3. “Above and beyond” comes to mind. Well done to both of you . Shame that not everybody has that same dedication to their job.

  4. “Above and beyond” comes to mind. Well done to both of you. Shame that mot everybody has that same dedication to their job.

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