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Charitable Outreach

Mercy Hospital is a not-for-profit organisation which has a strong commitment to providing charitable outreach that is responsiveness to the needs of the wider community. The health, education and welfare needs of the poor and underprivileged are of particular concern. The Mercy Hospital Charities Committee oversees all funding allocations and ensures these are consistent with our Mercy Heritage and Catholic Tradition.

Surgical Outreach

Surgical outreach is a key focus of our charitable endeavour. Our aim is to assist people whose quality of life would be improved by surgery, but who lack the financial capacity and do not qualify for timely intervention within the public hospital system. Usually the applicant or their family make a contribution towards the cost of the surgery at Mercy Hospital and Charitable Outreach supports this through provision of additional funds. Application is usually made by the patient’s Consultant who has the forms available. For further information or Applications Forms please contact the Mission Co-ordinator, Mercy Hospital.

It is usual that patients pay for their initial surgical consult, but where there is a specific need identified by the patient and their General Practitioner, application can be made for assistance with these costs. The application is made on the appropriate form that is available from the General Practitioners or the Mission Co-ordinator, Mercy Hospital

McAuley Chair in International Health

Health needs of the international community are also of interest to Mercy Hospital. As part of the Leading Thinkers programme at the University of Otago, Mercy Hospital has supported the establishment of the McAuley Chair in International Health. The Centre for International Health has a particular interest in researching infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, in countries where poverty and limited health resources are a constant problem.

Local Health and Welfare Needs

Local health and welfare needs are supported through donations made to other not-for-profit organisations such as Otago Community Hospice and St. Joseph Rest Home and Hospital run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Charities Committee ensures that a wide age range is covered and funding provided to health and welfare agencies of different denominational groups. Decisions are also informed by the corporal and spiritual works of Mercy, which are a particular focus of attention for the Sisters of Mercy in New Zealand.

Charitable Work in 2009 – 2010

Distribution of funds followed our established pattern with at least 50% being dedicated to Surgical Outreach. This year it involved 56% of total funds.




Within surgical outreach there continued to be an emphasis on Ear, Nose and Throat surgery (103) especially for children requiring grommets. This was identified as a particularly valuable area of focus as it enhances physical and social development and enables the child to maximise their learning opportunities. Of the other specialty areas general surgery had proportionally more patients (27), which reflected the limited availability of some types of general surgery within the Public Hospital setting.




Although there were significantly more patients who received Ear, Nose and Throat surgery the difference in the average cost of operations in various surgical areas resulted in a wider distribution when viewed as a dollar value.



Examples of Charitable Outreach in previous years

John aged 3 years had serious speech difficulties which were thought to be directly connected to ear infections and inflamed and infected tonsils and adenoids. John was about to start pre-school and there was concern that his hearing and associated speech problems would delay his learning and development even further. Surgery in the public system would have been more that six months away and it was felt that such a delay in preschool experience, on top of his already delayed speech, would be inappropriate. The family did not have insurance but was able to contribute $100 towards the costs.

Bryan aged 3 years had been in foster care for 6 months. During that time he had five severe ear infections and with each episode his behaviour deteriorated to such a level that the foster family felt unable to cope. The child either needed to have surgery urgently or the family would not be able to continue providing care. The Surgeon felt that ‘Social Welfare’ was unlikely to contribute to the cost and it seemed inappropriate to ask the family to pay when they were in such a distressed state. The Surgeon provided his services free of charge and Charitable Outreach met all other costs.

Andrew aged 7 years had a severe squint that caused problems at school. While his learning had been compromised, primarily because he became very tired as a result of eye strain, there were also concerns about his social development. Andrew was having problems with children commenting on this usual appearance, he was withdrawn and his self esteem was suffering. He was unlikely to get an appointment within 6 months in the public system and then would not be likely to get enough points required for surgery. Andrews parents were not able to contribute to the costs of surgery so Charitable Outreach met all costs.

Anne was a mother of four children and had longstanding problems with endometriosis which caused severe pain. She was referred to Public Hospital but did not reach the ‘points’ required for surgery and therefore had limited options to deal with her situation. Although Anne has a Community Services Card she had been saving for her surgery. She was eager to contribute $1,000 towards the costs and the Charitable Outreach met the balance incurred by her having a hysterectomy.

Tom aged 85 years was living alone in a small town and was proud to be a returned soldier. He had a son who lived nearby but was able to manage most things with a minimal amount of assistance. He strived to maintain his independence even though he had a range of minor complaints consistent with his age. He developed urinary retention and it was decided that he need a Prostatectomy. Tom had limited finances and a fixed income but was keen to contribute $3,000 towards the cost of the surgery. The balance was met by the Charitable Outreach Fund.


If you wish to support the Charitable Outreach programme at Mercy Hospital, please contact the Mission Co-ordinator