The BRC is strengthening its ties with South Africa thanks to a flourishing relationship between Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cape Town.

The two organisations joined forces in a recent twinning initiative and representatives from both parties have since been discussing ways of collaborating and sharing expertise.

Last month BRC quality manager Paul Cross and Paula Darroch, clinical research facility nurse manager, visited South Africa to speak at the Global Health Network annual conference.

While Paul delivered talks on quality management in clinical research, Paula spoke about the history of research nursing in the UK. They also ran workshops on risk management in clinical trials and conducted a gap analysis of facilities there.

The pair also visited outreach research centres and provided consultancy on a number of topics including emergency scenario management.
Further visits to South Africa, a two-way staff sabbatical programme and potential publications are all now being discussed as part of the twinning project. BRC representatives have also had discussions with the Ministry of Health in Swaziland with a view to collaborating in future.
Paul Cross said: “It was really interesting to see the similarities and universal experiences between nurses in Cape Town and over here in London. We also learned a lot about infectious diseases, which might help to broaden the horizons of the BRC in future.”

Paula Darroch added: “The South African trip was a wonderful working experience and we look forward to collaborating with the University of Cape Town in the future.”

Paul and Paula will relay their observations from South Africa at the UK Clinical Research Facilities (UKCRF) conference in Manchester next July.