We studied the efficacy, tolerability and clinical courses of dabrafenib in patients with metastatic melanoma who were ineligible for enrolment into a clinical trial. Between July 2011 and May 2013, patients with unresectable stage III or stage IV, V600-mutated metastatic melanoma who were not eligible for inclusion into clinical trials were offered treatment with dabrafenib through a named patient programme. Routine efficacy and toxicity data were collected throughout treatment and studied retrospectively. The endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival and best overall response. Thirty-one patients commenced dabrafenib therapy including six individuals who had progressed on a prior BRAF-inhibitor treatment. The majority of patients had cerebral metastases (n=17) and/or a poor performance status [Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG)≥2, n=11]. Median overall survival was 5.6 months (range 0.1-22 months). Median PFS was 3.3 months (range 0.1-21) and was similar despite performance status. One patient had a complete response and eight showed partial responses to treatment. Patients with cerebral metastases (n=17) had a median PFS of 4.6 months. Five patients (16%) had dose-limiting toxicities. Despite several poor prognostic features, dabrafenib is a safe and effective treatment in the community setting, with occasional impressive outcomes.