Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence

With 12,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour every year, there has never been a more important time to recognise the work of the teams that help patients through their brain tumour journey.

Three years ago, Baroness Tessa Jowell gave her powerful speech in the House of Lords recognising the need to improve brain tumour treatment, care and survival for all patients. Since then the TJBCM, with Professor Katie Bushby as programme lead, has been leading on the Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence designation initiative – an exercise designed to recognise and award neuro-oncology centres for their excellence in patient care. 

Centres were measured on a range of criteria including excellent clinical practice and training opportunities; emphasis on patient quality of life; providing clinical trials and offering a high standard of research opportunities. Led by a committee of experts in the field and with virtual site visits, the assessments were backed up by patient feedback collected by The Brain Tumour Charity about the care they received in these centres. 

28 centres across the United Kingdom applied to be designated, each demonstrating enthusiasm and commitment to the process, passion for their patient group and high quality care in line with national guidance and standards. Eleven stood out however, for their excellence across clinical practice, patient care and research and truly embodied the human-centred culture of kindness and compassion that Tessa advocated for during her lifetime, providing wraparound holistic care that meets a patient where they are.


Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence:

  1. University Hospitals Birmingham
  2. Edinburgh Centre for Neuro-oncology 
  3. King’s Health Partners – King’s College Hospital & Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals 
  4. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  5. Salford Royal Foundation Trust & The Christie 
  6. Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  7. Nottingham University Hospitals
  8. St George’s University Hospital, Royal Marsden & Royal Surrey County Hospital
  9. University College Hospital London NHS Foundation Trust
  10.  Liverpool Network (The Walton Centre, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre)
  11. Barts Health 
  12. The East of England service (Cambridge University Hospitals, Norfolk Norwich Hospital and Ipswich Hospital)
  13. Oxford University Hospitals and the Thames Valley Neuro oncology Network
  14. The Bristol Network (North Bristol NHS Trust, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust)
  15. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
  16. Cardiff Neuro-oncology centre (Velindre Cancer Centre and University Hospital Wales)
  17. Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

In all cases where hospitals did not receive the award, the TJBCM can safely say that they missed out by a small margin and we will be working with them closely in the coming months to ensure they hit the high standards set out by the Tessa Jowell Standards of Excellence. All applicant centres will join the Tessa Jowell Academy, a national platform allowing hospitals to share knowledge and best-practice to improve their services, and will work closely with the TJBCM to further develop their services. It is hoped that with the support of the Academy more centres will qualify for excellence status in the future, extending the reassurance of excellent NHS care more broadly and ensuring no patient is left behind.

Cally Palmer, NHS England national cancer director, said: This award is a fitting tribute to Tessa Jowell and her dedication to excellence in cancer care, as well as to all the NHS staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to continue to provide life-saving cancer services, and it is great to see NHS hospitals across the country being recognised as centres of excellence.

Click here to learn more about why we need Centres of Excellence and click here to learn more about the Standards of Excellence.