February 2010

Warm greetings from the ARCH desk at the start of 2010 – an appropriate time, I think, to update you on the progress of Auckland’s first charity hospital.

2009 was a busy one indeed! A first year is always crucial in the establishment of any charity; good foundations have to be laid to ensure the long term survival of the venture. Well, last year certainly saw us succeed in establishing a strong infrastructure for the hospital. Testament to this can be seen in the list of professionals and institutions – legal, accounting, banking etc – that are supporting us.

It is with sadness and regret that Mike Stanford, ARCH’s accountant had to withdraw his services due to health issues at the end of last year. A big thanks you to him for all his help. We welcome Lewis Beer of WBB accountants onto the team.

Of note too, is the relationship ARCH has forged with Southern Cross Hospitals, who have very kindly offered free theatre time and overnight stays at 50% of normal cost, for some ARCH patients. This is a great service to have available to us.

2009 also saw us launch our fundraising programme, and to date we have raised over $175 000 – no mean feat in the current economic climate, and again confirmation of the community’s belief in this exciting project. There are some great upcoming events on the fundraising horizon, with Tina Cross, Simon O’ Neil and The Topp Twins, offering their support.

Whilst this figure of $175 000 is nowhere near our ultimate goal, it has enabled us to commence operating in a virtual capacity out of established facilities. The very first ARCH procedure was successfully performed in December. A tearful and hugely grateful patient, whose disfigurement was surgically removed, reinforced for us what ARCH is really about – helping those people who cannot access the healthcare they need because of financial and other constraints.

We have several more patients lined up for surgery in the coming weeks. This is part of a small pilot phase to develop the ARCH systems. Soon, our focus will shift Auckland wide with a more concerted drive to publicise ARCH to the general public.

A real credit to all involved is that nearly all the tasks involved in the running of our organisation have to date been done pro bono, ensuring that almost all of the funds raised will go straight into operations, helping needy members of the Auckland community find solutions to their health problems.

Finally, the directors have been in discussion with AUT looking at the possibility of ARCH working alongside the university, in a co-beneficial relationship, with a focus on education for nursing and business students. We are very excited at this prospect and hugely grateful for Susan Shaw and Professor Max Abbott’s support. Watch this space!

To all supporters, a very big thank you. ARCH is about the community stepping up to help solve a problem. Together we are making this goal a reality.

With kind regards
Dr Fiona Sussman