Opening of the Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence Application Round

Press Release

Published 26th October 2020

As of today, UK neuro-oncology centres have been formally invited to apply for Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence designation. An initiative to congratulate and reward UK Neuro-centres offering the highest standard of care under the NHS.

Today, neuro-oncology centres across the UK were invited by the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer mission to apply for an assessment to obtain the Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence designation. The exciting initiative will create a network of specialised brain cancer services that deliver high-quality patient care, innovative research and amplify the collective voice of the brain tumour field. Submitted applications, which consist of a self-assessment and patient feedback, will undergo a rigorous review process by a committee of experts in the field.

Before her passing, Dame Tessa Jowell led a call to action for lasting change for all brain tumour patients. She asked for all patients to benefit from “the latest and greatest science” and called to focus on “living well with cancer, not just dying from it”.

Since then, the TJBCM team has worked with national leading academics, clinicians, patients and partner organisations to identify and define standards of excellence in clinical practice, patient quality of life, clinical trials, staff training and research and wants to reward the neuro-oncology services who work tirelessly to uphold these standards every day.

For patients, getting treatment in a designated centre will mean that they can be confident that they receive the highest standard of care under the NHS and are able to access the latest cutting-edge trials and research, regardless of where they live. They will also gain greater visibility on where to access excellent centres. For centres, designation as a TJ Centre of Excellence will serve as a national recognition of their staff going above and beyond. The TJ Centres will also act as an important network for sharing and promoting best practice, as a way of supporting centres that are doing brilliant work but still need more help.

Tessa’s daughter Jess Mills, co-founder of the TJBCM and founder CEO of the Tessa Jowell Foundation, said:

Everything we want to transform in Brain Cancer Care & Treatment has been informed by our families experience on the front lines of current treatment and care options on the NHS. There were pockets of such kindness and brilliance, but there were huge, vast gaps too.  Understanding, then navigating the gaps, amongst many other things, is what kept me awake every night when Mum was ill. In the end all you want to know is that, no matter what happens, there was no stone left unturned for your loved one.  That everything that could have been done was, and that they are being supported to live well, for as much time as you may have.  I always say, hope, and trust are actually the best medicines of all.  

When the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission was formed, we were tasked with delivering a national strategy to transform Treatment and Care for Brain Cancer Patients as a road map for how to innovate cancer care beyond.  The North Star of the design has always been, ‘would this be good enough for my children, my mother, my husband, would it be good enough for me?’  And today, with the launch of the TJ Centres see’s the beginning of this mission in action. There is still, so much to be done beyond this, but the TJ Centres will lay the crucial foundations of excellence upon which the future of true innovation, including truly personalised cancer care, can be delivered. It is one step at a time. But today is a big one, and we couldn’t be prouder of all that has been achieved and all that is to come.” 

The first round of designated Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence will be announced late February.

TJBCM is supported by the Department of Health and Social Care and brings together leading clinicians and academics, Cancer Research UK, The Brain Tumour Charity, Brain Tumour Research and Brainstrust, amongst others.