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Jane Goddard reports for BBC News
"This is medi-cinema, the first full-blown cinema in a hospital"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 14 December, 1999, 09:35 GMT
Hospital cinema opens

projector The silver screen comes to a hospital for the first time


The UK's first hospital cinema, offering bed-ridden patients the chance to enjoy the silver screen, is due to open.

The cinema at St Thomas's Hospital, London, has places for a seated audience of 98 plus 10 wheelchair spaces and room for six beds.



I think it's a great idea to enable patients to forget about their worries, aches and pains by losing themselves in the magic of the silver screen
Kate Winslet
It will show films on general release at mainstream cinemas during matinee performances for children and evening shows for adult patients. The first film on show will be Walt Disney's Inspector Gadget, three days before its release nationwide.

The opening on Tuesday will be attended by big names including Helen Mirren, star of Prime Suspect and The Madness of King George.

Kate Winslet, star of the blockbuster movie Titanic and patron of Medicinema, the charity responsible for the hospital cinema, said: "I think it's a great idea to enable patients to forget about their worries, aches and pains by losing themselves in the magic of the silver screen."

Applauded

Minister for film Janet Anderson said she applauded the partnership between the health sector and the film industry.

The cinema is the result of three years planning and has been built in a converted part of King's College medical school at St Thomas's and St Guy's Hospital Trust. No NHS money has gone into the scheme.

During the week, the building will operate as a lecture theatre for staff at the hospitals, converting to a cinema at weekends.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: "We don't want patients to feel isolated from the outside world. The cinema will show up to date films and maybe some classics too."

Plans to build a further 20 hospital cinemas around the country are under discussion.

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