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 travel to Oyonnax for the second round of the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Saturday evening, and Director of Rugby David Humphreys is expecting a big test from the French side, feeling that their league position doesn't reflect their recent performances.
Speaking exclusively to Gloucester Rugby TV, Matt Kvesic explained that his decision to extend his contract at Kingsholm was a simple one and that he was hugely excited for the future in Cherry and White.
Speaking after the 55-0 win over CA Brive, Jonny May told GRTV that he's delighted that the team's hard work is starting to pay dividends but was equally happy for his friend and team mate, Charlie Sharples, on what was a big night for his fellow winger.
Speaking to the local media this week, David Humphreys insisted that Gloucester are looking forward to kicking off the new European Rugby Challenge Cup against Brive on Thursday evening, although an unfamiliar opponent and a five day turnaround will pose a challenge.