EXPERIENCED Wiltshire Air Ambulance paramedic Ben Abbott is passing on his knowledge to his new crewmate.

Ben, who recently qualified as a critical care paramedic, is mentoring James Hubbard, who joined Wiltshire Air Ambulance five months ago.

Ben, 34, has been a paramedic with Wiltshire Air Ambulance for just over two years. To become a critical care paramedic he had to demonstrate competency in administering drugs for pain relief and sedation, carrying out surgical techniques, as well as completing a postgraduate Masters Certificate in Pre-hospital Critical Care at Plymouth University. He is also trained in aviation skills, including using night vision goggles when flying at night.

Ben and James are employed by South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and seconded to Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Before he joined Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Ben was an ambulance paramedic in Bath. He has worked in the ambulance service for eight years and before that was a physiotherapist for three years.

James, 31, a trainee critical care paramedic, previously worked as a road paramedic in Gloucestershire and latterly as operations officer managing a team of five paramedics at the hazardous area response team based in Bristol.

Ben, who lives in Rode, Somerset, said: “It’s an honour to work at Wiltshire Air Ambulance and it’s great to have qualified as a critical care paramedic. Working here is very rewarding. We treat the most seriously injured or critically ill patients and our skills really can make a difference, such as giving pre-hospital blood transfusions.

“Meeting patients after they have recovered is humbling and we are well supported by the people of Wiltshire, who fundraise to keep us flying and saving lives. The team get on really well and it’s great to work with James. As well as being able to impart my experience with James, I’m learning from him. In his previous role as an operational officer he has a lot of experience in managing scenes of incidents.”

James, who lives in Box, and has been a paramedic for ten years, added: “Working at Wiltshire Air Ambulance is very different to what I was doing before – it’s a different pace and intensity. I wanted to work here to further my clinical scope of practice and use those skills in a dynamic, fast-moving environment.

“I’m really enjoying it, everyone here is great. The team is very supportive and everyone works really well together. The paramedics and pilots have a huge amount of experience and are very good at passing that on. Ben is a great mentor and works hard to maintain his knowledge and skill base. I’m very fortunate to be working with Ben.”

James and Ben are both looking forward to moving to the charity’s new airbase at Semington, which is due to be operational by next summer.

James said: “The new airbase looks fantastic and it’s going to be a really good place to work.”

Ben said: “I’m really excited about working at the new airbase. It will be state-of-the-art and bring together the operational crews and the charity team, have training rooms and better facilities for visitors.”

Before they joined the aircrew, Ben and James both fundraised for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Ben ran the Bath Half Marathon in 2015 while James completed the Ice Run challenge, driving across a frozen lake in Siberia on an old Russian motorcycle and sidecar with a friend in 2016.

James was also a volunteer with Wiltshire Air Ambulance, representing the charity at cheque presentations, fundraising events and giving talks.