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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.