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.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Tongan international forward Sione Kalamafoni returns after injury to take up his usual place in the back row as Gloucester look to finish their season on a high against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday.
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to confirm that 18 year old Mat Protheroe, a product of Hartpury College and one of the brightest young talents in the English game, has signed a senior contract at Kingsholm.