Meet our flying doctors
Monday, 31 October 2022
The doctors offer consultant-level experience and care to the critically unwell patients we treat as a service, elevating our delivery further than ever before.
It enables us to anaesthetise critical patients to protect the airway, manage ventilation and provide neurological protection. This allows the aircrew to convey certain patients direct to specialist hospitals whereas previously in some instances we may have had to go to the nearest hospital for them to be stabilised first.
The doctors are also able to prescribe a whole range of medication to treat a wider scope of conditions without restrictions and have additional analgesic options such as fentanyl and intranasal pain relief for children.
In addition to the patient-facing benefits, they offer senior-level training to the team of critical care paramedics and access to hospital-based training opportunities as well.
Why not take the opportunity to meet our six doctors…
Our Lead Doctor first joined the charity in 2018. Maria went to medical school in London in 1994, then trained in Emergency Medicine. She worked as an Emergency Medicine Consultant for 12 years across hospitals in Harlow, Romford and Cambridge. She has also worked with three other air ambulance charities – MAGPAS, Essex & Herts and London.
Maria says: “One of our former pilots, Nicky Smith, recommended Wiltshire Air Ambulance to me and the rest is history! I love working with the awesome team at WAA, meeting the patients, and sometimes making a difference for people when they have had one of the worst days of their lives. I enjoy teaching and watching people grow and develop professionally.”
Reuben joined us as a volunteer in 2019 before becoming a permanent member of the rota last October. He is an Emergency Medicine consultant doctor at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, dealing with patients who have suffered major trauma.
Over the years Reuben has worked with the London Ambulance Service and even crewed an ambulance in New Zealand. Amazingly Reuben used to fear flying, but that has been cured now!
He says: “By working with the aircrew, we are able to support with key lifesaving skills, equipment, drugs and blood that would be found in the Emergency Department, bringing it directly to the patient's side, wherever they are. This means patients receive the lifesaving treatment they need minutes or even hours sooner than they otherwise would.”
Jono (pictured below) came on board as a volunteer in April 2021 before becoming part of the rota on a regular basis 11 months later. Like Rosie, he works at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, where he is an Emergency Medicine Consultant.
His varied background means he boasts an experience of teaching Tactical Police (firearms) medics and HART Paramedics, as well as Tropical and Expedition Medicine.
Jono says: “I love that I have the opportunity to be part of such a focused and highly skilled team to really make a difference when it matters most, it's a privilege to be a part of.”
Another member of the team who joined the rota regularly after several years of volunteering for the charity. Rosie qualified in London in 1997 but switched from gastroenterology to emergency medicine five years later. Rosie’s experience includes working across many countries, including Australia and the Caribbean.
She is now based at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, one of a number of hospitals Wiltshire Air Ambulance regularly transfers patients to. Rosie also boasts an experience of workings HEMS with Kent Surrey Sussex Air Ambulance and Thames Valley Air Ambulance.
She says: “The main thing I love about my job is the variety – it’s not knowing what might come through the door or what HEMS job we might be tasked to but knowing that whatever it is, you are in a position to be able to help and to in some way make that time better for that patient and their family.”
Our longest-serving doctor, Phil began volunteering with the charity back in 2015. Whilst he doesn't respond for WAA as a doctor, he works closely with us and runs the BASICS scheme for Wiltshire SWIFT medics. He also supports the paramedics by completing their yearly technical crew member medicals.
Away from medicine, Phil is a beekeeper, which he says is a fascinating hobby, albeit a little painful at times. “The honey makes it worthwhile,” he says.
Phil added: “I enjoy supporting the Air Ambulance and South Western Ambulance Service, helping them work through difficult problems they may have, using my medical skills to assist and support patients I encounter.”