Six NHS Brain Cancer Centres Awarded Centre of Excellence Status Highlighting Commitment to Patient Care

Press Release

Published 27th May 2022

With 12,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour every year in the UK, there has never been a more important time to recognise the efforts of NHS staff committed to developing and improving brain tumour treatment and care.

The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) has awarded six new brain tumour centres the ‘Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence’ status. This award congratulates centres for excellence in treatment, research and care. This is an impressive achievement as despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, these centres have been able to transform their services to elevate their wrap-around patient care. Prof Kate Bushby, who led the designation exercise, emphasised that “the award not only celebrates the centres’ hard work to push for excellence but also formalises the teams’ commitment to continual service improvement”.

This initiative is part of TJBCM’s national mission to ensure every patient has access to excellent care, no matter where they live. With the addition of six new centres, there are now 17 Centres of Excellence across the UK. In time, it is the Mission’s aspiration that every brain tumour centre in the UK becomes a Centre of Excellence and continues to raise the standards of excellence.

Stephen Price, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s and Clinician Scientist at the University of Cambridge, said: “We are delighted to be designated as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence as it means that brain tumour patients can be confident they are receiving the highest level of NHS care and have access to the most up to date treatments. The designation acknowledges the hard work and dedication of our research and clinical teams to deliver the best possible care for patients.”

Due to the combined catchment area of these six centres, a further 14 million people now have access to excellent care should they need it, with the centres jointly treating more than 1,000 new brain tumour patients per year. Jess Mills, Tessa Jowell’s daughter and TJBCM’s Special Adviser has hailed this good news and says, “We are one step closer to achieving this incredible ambition of excellence for all. The reason we are moving forward at this fast pace is due to the combined efforts and commitment of the doctors, nurses and support staff in each of the hospitals.”

To be considered for this award, centres implemented specific feedback from the Mission and made a range of service improvements over a period of 18 months. Highlights include: better access to biobanking, increased nurse staffing, improved provision of care for low grade tumour patients, new nurse-led clinics, further specialised neurosurgery services, quicker turnaround of key diagnostic tests and improved access to rehabilitation services.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Team

All six centres will continue to share their expertise with staff in other centres through the Tessa Jowell Academy, the Mission’s national learning and networking platform. This will ensure that multidisciplinary teams continue to connect with peer centres across the country and learn from each other’s excellence to support service improvement nationally.

“It is a complete honour that the Bristol, Cheltenham and Bath network has been recognised as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence which is the culmination of years of hard work. This diverse multidisciplinary network is led by a highly skilled, dedicated clinical team whose priority is a patient-centred approach for all of brain- cancer patients.” Professor Kathreena Kurian, Professor Neuropathology and Consultant Neuropathologist at North Bristol Trust

It is hoped that for the 88,000 British people currently living with a brain tumour, the Excellence status provides reassurance about the availability of excellent care and commitment to improvement in the NHS across the UK. The Mission looks forward to continuing to work with all centres to ensure a culture of commitment to excellence and service improvement.

Commenting on the award, James Powell, Neuro-Oncology Consultant at Velindre Cancer Centre and lead clinician for the Centre of Excellence application said: “We are delighted to have been designated a Centre of Excellence in recognition of our ongoing commitment to developing our services to improve patient experience and outcomes. We hope the Centre of Excellence status will give each patient referred into our service greater confidence that they are receiving the highest levels of care available.”

Velindre Cancer Centre team

Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for the NHS in England, said: “It is fantastic to see yet more NHS hospitals across the country being recognised as Centres of Excellence – these six new awards are 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 and now to continue to provide life-saving cancer services. The NHS is committed to diagnosing and treating cancers as early as possible to give people the best chance of beating the disease, and I encourage anyone who is experiencing any worrying symptoms to contact their GP immediately – getting checked can help save lives.”

Oxford University Hospitals Staff

The list of centres who obtained Excellence status this round include: The East of England service (Cambridge University Hospitals, Norfolk Norwich Hospital and Ipswich Hospital); Oxford University Hospitals; The Bristol Network (North Bristol NHS Trust, United Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust); Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust ; Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; and Cardiff Neuro-oncology centre (Velindre Cancer Centre and University Hospital Wales).

Map above of currently designated Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence