DOCTORS from TV's Green Wing got the chance to consult with real life medical colleagues last week and find out what Salisbury District Hospital's Stars Appeal is all about.

Actors Julian Rhind-Tutt and Stephen Mangan, who play manic medics Dr Mac Macartney and Dr Guy Secretan in the Channel 4 cult series, were given a tour of the neonatal intensive care unit by consultant paediatrician, Robert Scott-Jupp, and senior sister, Jackie Stoneham.

They were then taken to meet staff in the hospital's Springs restaurant.

The two actors are among the patrons of the Appeal, launched two weeks ago at Wilton House, to raise funds for life-saving equipment at the hospital.

Two key campaigns are the central focus of fund-raising - the Little Lives Campaign, which wants £100,000 to equip the hospital's NICU with the cutting-edge diagnostic equipment to help staff deliver the best care and treatment to the babies born at SDH too small, sick or too soon to survive without medical intervention.

The appeal also hopes to raise £300,000 to equip an ultra-modern facility and provide trail-blazing keyhole cancer surgery.

Both actors have Wiltshire connections - Julian's family came from Wilton and Steven has a house near Marlborough - and were keen to find out what a difference the appeal could make and meet some of the mums and babies currently being cared for by dedicated staff in the unit.

Jokes flew thick and fast between the pair, who have worked together on numerous occasions, including the current advertising campaign for Barclaycard, but both recognised the importance of the appeal.

"It's very hard to come down here and see these babies and not be moved," said Stephen.

"The hospital baby unit has a great reputation but it needs a bit of help."

Both men hope to get involved with future fundraising events, including a ball and a celebrity football match.