People can double donations to fund flying doctor

By Barrie Hudson - 17 November 2023


Wiltshire Air Ambulance needs help to fund a flying doctor this Christmas and says donations will be doubled from 28 November to 5 December.

The charity has once again linked up with the Big Give Christmas Challenge to help secure £35,000 for the funding another year of critical care doctor Jonathan Holme’s services.

Jonathan began volunteering with the charity in April 2021 and through the success of last year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge the charity was able to secure him for two shifts per week for 2023.

For this year’s Big Give, Wiltshire Air Ambulance is again raising funds to pay for Jonathan’s clinical expertise and experience, enabling him to work alongside the paramedic crew for 12 months, delivering the highest standard of care to critically ill and injured patients.

He said: “By having doctors on board, Wiltshire Air Ambulance is offering additional skills and experience of working in an emergency resuscitation room and bringing that treatment about half an hour earlier to the patient. 

“We can anesthetise the patient at the scene and understand the next stages of patient care in a hospital setting, ensuring we take the patient to the correct onward point.”

Jonathan works as an emergency medicine consultant at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, as well as working two shifts per week with the charity – and now the aim is to continue that service into 2024.  

He added: “Through my work at the Royal United Hospital, I had seen first-hand some of the fantastic work that Wiltshire Air Ambulance carries out across Wiltshire, Bath and surrounding areas. 

“I came to realise that being able to achieve that service in a pre-hospital environment really epitomised to me what it means to provide critical care to patients.

“It’s a real privilege to work at the cutting edge of critical care with such a highly skilled team making a huge difference across the region. I can’t think of anything else I’d want to do more.”

Ben Abbott, air operations officer and critical care paramedic at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “Our critical care paramedics are very highly trained. However, some of the most complex emergency interventions at the scene now require a doctor to be present. 

"These interventions can significantly improve outcomes. By flying with a doctor we can bring these vital top level skills to our patients.”

Wiltshire Air Ambulance has secured matched funding from David Haydon’s Wiltshire Match Fund, with further pledges from Coombe Dairy, the Andrew Smiley Trust, Ridge Coffee Club and Melksham Ltd.

Collectively they will match fund every pound raised up to £17,500 – meaning the doubling of donations would achieve the required tally of £35,000

The Christmas Challenge begins at noon on 28 November and people can make a donation – which will be doubled from the match fund – by visiting


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