MediCinema brings movie night to NHS hospitals, delighting patients old and young

22 October 2020, 10:42

MediCinema is a cinema experience within a hospital setting
MediCinema is a cinema experience within a hospital setting. Picture: MediCinema

Going to the cinema is something a lot of us take for granted, but for people with chronic or terminal illnesses, seeing a fim on the big screen can be an impossible dream.

Over the past few months, we've developed a more acute understanding of how it feels to be isolated - but for people in hospital, it's been lonelier than ever.

To keep them safe from the threat of coronavirus, there have been even less visitors than usual to people receiving treatment or respite on wards across the country.

And while we haven't been able to go out and enjoy things that we take for granted, for people too poorly to return to their homes or daily routines after an operation or devastating diagnosis, they know only too well the aching feeling that comes from knowing that they can't pop out, or spend time outdoors with friends and family.

That's why MediCinema is such an amazing charity.

They bring the cinema experience to NHS patients, screening new releases and classics for free in their specially built cinemas in NHS hospitals across the UK.

Their screens at Guy’s, St Thomas’ and Chelsea and Westminster Hospitals in London, Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow and Serennu Children’s Centre in Newport, South Wales are all designed to welcome patients on drips and on respirators; those recovering from operations; and undergoing chemotherapy or dialysis, plus their carers or people closest to them.

The cinemas are able to be used by people in wheelchairs and hospital beds, making it a truly accessible experience.

MediCinema works to improve the wellbeing of patients through the power and escapism of film - a trip to one of their cinemas gives them the opportunity to have a break from the wards and do something that feels a bit normal, and enjoy the shared experience of watching a movie with other people.

One of the next films to be screened is Netflix's Over The Moon, an exhilarating musical celebration of friendship, family and the power of imagination.

Coming out on October 23, it’s from animation icon Glen Keane, the visionary behind Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid and Aladdin and beloved writer Audrey Wells, and is the perfect tonic to tumultuous 2020.

Darach beams as he watches a film at the Glasgow MediCinema
Darach beams as he watches a film at the Glasgow MediCinema. Picture: MediCinema

MediCinema has found that 99 per cent of people who have watched a film while in hospital has found it made a "positive difference" to their time there, and it's also a lovely experience for parents to enjoy with their poorly children.

Darach was diagnosed at birth with Pulmonary Atresia with ventricular septal defect (VSD) and had his first surgery at two days old. He has visited the MediCinema at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital with his mum Fiona, who told us that it has really boosted his recovery.

She said: “When we think of health charities, we tend to think of the big organisations that focus on the body and prevention of disease, but the mind is key to healing and recovery too.

Kai and his girlfriend share a smile during his stay at St. Thomas' Hospital in London
Kai and his girlfriend share a smile during his stay at St. Thomas' Hospital in London. Picture: MediCinema

"Going to the cinema is something most people take for granted but under these circumstances it brought the greatest happiness to Darach and played a big part in his recovery. I think MediCinema really is the best thing in the hospital to help the kids and we are so grateful to have benefited from it.”

Since 1999, 200,000 people have enjoyed watching a film at MediCinema, including Kai. He spent six weeks in St Thomas’ Hospital for emergency heart surgery after an infection in his heart.

He said: “It came out of nowhere and has been a massive struggle. I was in perfect health before. The first week after the operation was a blur, I was in pain and found it very hard.

"As time has gone on I’ve found it depressing, I’ve been very low. I saw a MediCinema poster and it was like a shining light. I love cinema.

"It gave me something to look forward to. It’s motivated me and made me feel I can get better. It’s pushed me to not just mope about. I think it’s amazing – I’m taken aback that it’s here. I’m grateful to say the least. It’s made me feel 100% better.”

You can find out more about MediCinema and support their work here.