- The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) is delighted to award excellence status to Barts Health and the Liverpool Network, joining nine other UK NHS neuro-centres as Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence
- The award recognises the hard work put in by NHS teams to provide outstanding treatment and care to brain tumour patients, a disease that affects 12,000 new patients a year
- Despite best efforts from hospital teams and scientists, only 12% of adults survive for five years after diagnosis highlighting the need for further innovation in brain tumour care
- The newly awarded Centres of Excellence will play a leading role in accelerating innovation, sharing their knowledge and expertise with other NHS centres to improve care across the UK
16 December 2020
Barts Health (1) and the Liverpool Network (The Walton Centre, The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre) have been designated as Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence for providing excellence in patient treatment, care and research.
The centres underwent an extensive assessment process and were assessed on a range of criteria including excellent clinical practice, emphasis on patient quality of life, staff training opportunities and the ability to offer research opportunities to patients. Both centres passed a rigorous rev-
iew conducted by an expert assessment committee which was discussed during virtual site visits. This was backed up by comprehensive patient feedback collected by The Brain Tumour Charity.
Dimitrios Paraskevopoulos, Neurosurgeon from Barts Health welcomed the announcement and said that “We are thrilled that Barts Health has been designated as a TJ Centre of Excellence. This acknowledges the hard work and dedication in our team to provide excellent patient-focussed care to a diverse population. We are able to provide strong links with basic cancer research and access to clinical trials, cutting edge treatment as well as rehabilitation support. We look forward to working with the Tessa Jowell Academy to provide even more opportunities for our patients and share our expertise.”
Michael Jenkinson, Neurosurgeon from The Walton Centre, speaking on behalf of the Liverpool Network, said “We are delighted to have been recognised as a TJBCM centre of excellence. The entire team works extremely hard to deliver the best possible wrap-around care for all our patients and their families. We are dedicated to providing high quality, compassionate and holistic care as well as offering clinical trials and research opportunities to patients – without whom, new and better treatments would not be possible.”
At least 88,000 British people are currently living with a brain tumour and over 5,000 people a year will lose their lives to it (2). The “Excellence” status provides reassurance about the availability of excellent care within the NHS and positive recognition for its staff who, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, continue to go above and beyond for their patients.
Founded in 2018 to lead a new national strategy for brain tumours, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission has led the national assessment and is committed to help all UK centres achieve “Excellence” status in the future. The 28 of 30 UK Brain Tumour Centres have by now participated in this extensive review; 11 have obtained Excellence status and the remaining centres are currently working hard to obtain this status as soon as possible.
Following recommendations of the assessment committee many previously assessed centres have already made considerable improvements and are expected to obtain excellence status in 2022. Improvements made include increasing access to rehabilitation and psychological support services, recruiting additional staff members, developing pathways for tumour biobanking and widening access to research opportunities for patients. TJBCM stressed that all UK Brain Tumour Centres who participated in the review provide safe and good care, meeting national guidelines.
Barts Health, Liverpool and the other Centres of Excellence are expected to take a leading role in the Tessa Jowell Academy, which is launching early 2022. The Academy will be a new national learning and networking platform for brain tumour specialists to share cutting edge knowledge between centres, to support the improvement of 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.
Prof Kate Bushby, who led the assessment said “I am thrilled to announce two new Centres of Excellence who each demonstrated unique areas of excellence from which patients benefit. Throughout 2021, we have witnessed first-hand how centres have been increasingly sharing information and are innovating how they provide patient care. I look forward to seeing this upward trajectory continue over the next few years and see how patients and their families will have access to ever improving care”
Sue Farrington Smith MBE, Chief Executive of Brain Tumour Research, said:
“The announcement of these two new Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence is a terrific end to the year and is particularly pleasing for Brain Tumour Research as it provides further validation of the basic research we have been supporting at Queen Mary University of London and the strong links this has with Barts Health NHS Trust. We applaud recognition that a holistic approach that traverses scientific research to rehabilitation via clinical interventions is needed if we are to deliver the improvement in the options, care and outcomes for brain tumour patients that we so desperately need.”
Dr David Jenkinson, Interim CEO at The Brain Tumour Charity, said:
“We’re delighted that two more NHS centres have achieved Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence status and that so many hospitals are participating in this vital programme to drive up standards for brain tumour patients. During what has continued to be a really difficult year for those affected by brain tumours and for the NHS workforce, it’s really encouraging that so many centres have continued to provide excellent care and services to many, despite significant pressure and disruption.
“It’s so important that patients continue to be at the heart of these assessments and we are extremely grateful to over a thousand people affected by brain tumours who have shared their experiences with us. Thanks to Baroness Tessa Jowell’s vision, this programme really can be a catalyst for change in the coming years – for everyone affected by a brain tumour, we urgently need to ensure access to the best care everywhere.”
Tina Mitchell Skinner, Chief Executive Officer, Brain Tumour Support said: “As a charity working alongside NHS hospitals and staff on a daily basis, at Brain Tumour Support we see constantly the commitment that goes into delivering the best patient care possible. So we are delighted to see Barts Health Trust and the Liverpool Network getting the recognition they deserve. Patient need continuously guides our own services, and it is very clear how vital improved outcomes for all and parity of care is. With this shared goal we look forward to playing our part and eagerly anticipate further centres around the UK receiving the Centre of Excellence status.”
The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission is supported by the Department of Health and Social Care and brings together leading clinicians and academics, Brain Tumour Research, Cancer Research UK, The Brain Tumour Charity, Brainstrust, Brain Tumour Support, The Minderoo Foundation, The Tessa Jowell Foundation, Act for Cancer and the National Cancer Research Institute, amongst others.
(1) St Bartholomew’s Hospital, The Royal London Hospital, Whipps Cross, Newham University Hospital, Mile End Hospital
(2) Cancer Research UK, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/brain-other-cns-and-intracranial-tumours (Data: 2015-2017, UK)
Cancer Research UK, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/brain-other-cns-and-intracranial-tumours#heading-Zero (Data: 2015–2017, UK). Accessed October 2020.