Gloucester Rugby's star players kicked off the new season with a different touch, by officially opening a new £1.5m operating theatre at the Winfield Hospital.
Rory Lawson and Nicky Robinson performed a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hospital's third theatre and toasted the staff who run the unit on a daily basis, including the Theatre Manager, Shirley Beasley and Professor Jonathan Brown, Consultant Gastroenterologist.
The brand new theatre is welcome news for the 60+ surgeons who operate from the Winfield, allowing them greater choice of times as well as additional facilities to operate on the growing number of NHS patients.
Theatre Manager, Shirley Beasley - who celebrates her 10th anniversary working at Winfield this month - loves the variety and fast moving environment of the theatre unit and is thrilled with the new facilities. "It's great to have more space to work in and we now have some of the best surgical equipment available" she says, "That's better not just for us but for our patients, too" she concludes.
The number of operations carried out at the Winfield in the last 12 months was nearly 4,000, of which approximately half related to orthopaedic procedures - such as arthroscopies, joint replacements and spinal surgery - as well as those relating to sports injuries.
The large new theatre is fully fitted with £500k state of the art equipment including an image intensifier and the latest ultra clean ventilation system. All three theatres have a laminar flow system which changes and filters the air hundreds of times a minute to ensure an ultra clean operating environment.
The new build also enabled a doubling of size of the Recovery Room and a Day Suite for up to six patients undergoing endoscopies, cataracts or other minor operations. It also allowed a refurbishment and enlarging of the on-site sterilisation unit which autoclaves and sterilises all equipment on site. The Hospital has one of the lowest infection rates in the UK and was last year given a bacteria-free MRSA and C-dif rate. It also achieved a Gold Standard Award in Housekeeping within the Ramsay Group for its Hygiene and Service Delivery.
Gloucester will field a reshuffled side against the Ospreys in the LV= Cup this weekend, but Backs & Attack Coach Nick Walshe stressed that it's a great opportunity for everyone on duty on Saturday and that maintaining the recent winning run is very important.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees told GRTV after the win in Brive that the game could have been a tough one to get up for, but that his Gloucester team mates did themselves proud on the night and got a big result.
Reflecting on the 31-20 victory in Brive on Thursday evening, Director of Rugby David Humphreys said that clinching a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final was the overall aim and duly achieved.
Gloucester may have already clinched a home European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys wants his side to finish the pool stages on a winning note in Brive on Thursday evening.
Speaking after Saturday's win, James Hudson was happy to record a bonus-point win against a hugely physical Oyonnax side as Gloucester secured their passage into the European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Finals
Billy Burns was a try scorer on his first European start for Gloucester and, speaking after the game, admitted that it was good to get the five points although there are still things to work on before the trip to Brive.
Gloucester Rugby have added to their front row strength in depth for next season with the signings of Paul Doran-Jones, Paddy McAllister and Nicky Thomas from Harlequins, Aurillac and the Ospreys respectively.