The Brilliant Bagshaws: Two Canterbury doctors committed to helping the community

A film about two Canterbury doctors depicts their generosity and just how many lives they've been able to change.

The Brilliant Bagshaws, by Frank Film, shows that determination and not giving up has allowed them to realise their dream of helping others.

Dr Sue Bagshaw has been a youth health advocate for more than 40 years, while surgeon Phil Bagshaw founded the Canterbury Charitable Hospital - New Zealand's first charity hospital - in 2007. He converted a rotting, rundown Bishopdale villa into a small state-of-the-art surgery.

The free clinic Sue started treats about 100 people per year.

For Phil, his charity hospital has grown to five buildings, and says he thinks he'll buy more. Nearly 300 volunteers work there.

"We don't take money for treating people," Phil says. "It wouldn't be appropriate."

Sue has been attempting to make her clinic larger and create a "youth hub" for about five years, but a plan to expand to Welles St in Christchurch central, and on a site where St Luke's Church used to sit, also in the central city, fell through.

"It's very sad," she says.

But a breakthrough came this year - a site on Salisbury St in central Christchurch. The estimated cost of the youth hub - now in the consenting process - will be between $10 and $15 million.

"Nobody's going to give us big sums until we've got the consents," Sue says. "That's the next big hurdle."

The pair put their achievements down to one thing: "We both have this doggedness of not giving up and that's the key," Sue says.