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Sunday, 10 February, 2002, 13:49 GMT
Plans for interactive hospital museum
Ambitious plans to turn a Victorian hospital building in Cardiff into a hands-on medical attraction have been unveiled.

The University of Wales College of Medicine is in talks with authorities to create the interactive museum on the Cardiff Royal Infirmary site.

The Lifequest centre, as it is being called, would be similar to the Techniquest - the UK's leading science discovery centre - in Cardiff Bay.

Rhodri Morgan , Wales's First Minister
Rhodri Morgan: Backer

Among the attractions at the centre, whose capital cost is estimated at 20m, would be the possibility of taking part in virtual operations.

Professor Stephen Tomlinson, Vice Principal of the University College of Medicine, said the idea was to generate a higher profile for the institution and medicine in general.

He maintains that breathing new life into the infirmary - whose accident and emergency department relocated to the University of Wales Hospital almost three years ago - would have benefits for everybody.

"The problem is that we don't have as high a profile as we should have," the professor told BBC Radio Wales.

"A major part of this centre would be to provide accessibility for the local community and therefore it would benefit Cardiff and Wales.

"It would offer people the opportunity to learn about human biology, about medicine, and it would be something for the children rather than just being for the parents alone.

Techniquest is the UK's leading science discovery centre

"And these days it would be possible to do virtual operations."

The project has the backing "in principle" of the First Minister Rhodri Morgan, as well as assembly education and health ministers, Jane Davidson and Jane Hutt.

Professor Tomlinson said preliminary talks had also been held with Cardiff County Council whose support would also be vital.

He said he had estimated the capital cost of the project at 20m.

"It's not a huge amount but it's big enough to need a lot of support, and we have to be thinking where that money is going to come from."

Professor Stephen Tomlinson
"These days it would be possible to do virtual operations
See also:

27 Dec 01 | Health
Hi-tech future for surgery
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