TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-serving rural practice doctor who was one of the first National Health Service GPs.

Dr Alastair McIntosh, the father of Thirsk MP Anne McIntosh, died peacefully at home in Middleton-in-Teesdale, Durham, on Thursday, November 8, a week before his 90th birthday.

The former Royal Army Medical Corps captain, who qualified as a doctor in 1945, started practising in Teesdale in 1950, two years after marrying his wife, Grete Lise.

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Dr McIntosh, who was admired by colleagues and thousands of patients for his dedication, worked every other night on call and every other weekend on duty, often with little or means of communication and in difficult weather.

Miss McIntosh said: “In fine weather, Dad's progress up the Dale would be a bit like a stately visit. Progress would be slow and on each occasion, refreshments would be taken.

“In the days before mobile phones, my father would finish his morning surgery and set off up the dale on his round of home visits only for my mum to take an emergency call back in Middleton.

“It was quite a challenge to find out which route he had taken and where exactly he would be in order to locate him.”

Dr McIntosh, who represented rural practices on the Local Medical Committee, was known for his dry sense of humour and tied knots in his ties to remember things.

Dr Peter Austin, who took on the practice in 1977 when Dr McIntosh retired, said while his predecessor had pushed through advances in healthcare for his patients he was a “selfless, old school Dales GP”.

Dr Austin said: “He was known for his caring attitude and the time he gave to patients, and was admired by them, his peers and his staff.”

Dr McIntosh, whose wife died four years ago, also leaves his son, Dr Iain McIntosh, a retired GP of Dacre Banks, North Yorkshire, and grandchildren Sarah, Amy and Callum.

His funeral will be held today (Friday, November 16) at 2pm, at St Mary’s Church, Middleton-in-Teesdale.