Frequently Asked Questions

How can my centre apply?

All UK-based neuro-oncology will have received a personal invitation from the TJBCM. Please contact Nicky.Huskens@tessajowellbcm.org if you have not received an invitation to apply by the 27th of October.

Does the designation apply for both adult and paediatric neuro-oncology services? 

The Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence Designation is currently only for focussed on adult neuro-oncology centres services. We are aiming to include paediatric services in future designation rounds.

My centre provides brain tumour care in partnership with another centre, can we still apply? 

We understand that brain tumour care is frequently offered in partnership with affiliated centres. We aim to designate the group of centres that are together responsible for the entire patient pathway, therefore, centres who collectively provide brain tumour services are asked to jointly apply and will be designated as one group for purposes of the review. 

Is there a limit on the number of centres that will receive designation?

No, there is no limit on the number of centres that can obtain designation. Our aim is to enable and encourage as many centres as possible to achieve centre of excellence designation, so that we collectively raise the bar and set an example across the cancer community on how we can lead in treating rare cancers.

The application process has been designed to be as inclusive as possible; if your centre does not obtain designation this round, by having applied you will still receive extensive feedback, membership to the Tessa Jowell Academy, a network of knowledge and best practice sharing across NHS trusts, and further support to re-apply for designation in the second application round.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impact on our services (e.g. delays in surgeries, changes to how patients are seen) which do not reflect the usual standards of our service. Will this impact the chances of my centre obtaining designation?

The patient feedback surveys cover the past two years to ensure that there is data for at least one year unaffected by the pandemic. The committee will not look at data older than two years as services are likely to have changed significantly since then. The patient feedback form also take into account the effect the pandemic may have had on patient care and will indicate the date on which patients have received care, when the survey was filled in and includes a question on whether the patient believes their treatment or care was affected by covid-19.  As for the application form, we recommend centres indicate if parts of the data have been particularly affected by COVID.

My centre provides a specialist service; many of our patients begin their diagnostic and surgical service elsewhere before coming to our service. Will this be accurately reflected in the patient feedback forms?

When patients fill in the ‘Improving Brain Tumour Care’ surveys, they are given a choice of six different surveys which cover different parts of the patient journey (pre-diagnosis, diagnosis & next steps, neurosurgery, radiotherapy & chemotherapy, living with a brain tumour and palliative and end of life care).  When filling in the surveys, patients are asked to indicate what hospital they attended to receive a specific part of the  service . They can select different centres for   each part of the  treatment pathway.

When will you stop collecting patient feedback? 

We will stop collecting patient feedback at midnight on the 13th of January, 2021. Please continue encouraging your patients to fill in the ‘ Improving Brain Tumour Care’ surveys after the submission deadline for the application form.

I have a brain tumour or care for someone with a brain tumour. How can I help?

Please see our patients page to see how you can help.

The application form asks for supporting evidence for several questions (i.e. audit data). Does my centre need to attach the supporting evidence with the application form?

Centres do not need to attach any supporting evidence with the application form but are advised to have the supporting evidence available in the case that the committee has further questions and requests access to the supporting evidence.

My centre works with both NHS and academic labs. Should I include the work carried out by the academic lab in the application form?

Yes. Please include any brain tumour related lab-work in section five of the application form as the section applies to all brain tumour science, including basic, applied and clinical science.

I have comments or queries about the standards of excellence against which the centres are assessed. Can I comment or provide additional expertise on the standards?

The standards of excellence have been designed by the TJ Centre committee which consists of a broad range of clinicians, allied health professionals and academics from a wide range of institutions and hospitals across the country in addition to patients.  We strive to continuously improve our work and welcome thoughts or comments on the standards. Any comments or queries can be discussed with the TJBCM central team once the first round of designation has concluded.

One of my centre’s staff members is actively involved in the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. To what extent are they permitted to be part of the application process?

To successfully complete the application form, centres are advised to pick the staff members best positioned to give an accurate reflection of each part of the centre’s services, regardless of their work on TJBCM. The assessment process has been designed in such a way that assessors cannot review their own application or be present during the shortlisting of centres.

Who will be assessing my application?

All applications will be reviewed by the Tessa Jowell (TJ) committee which consists of the TJBCM Central Team (Dr.Nicky Huskens, Prof. Katherine Steele, Jess Mills and Prof. Richard Gilbertson), peer clinicians across disciplines and members of patient charities. All assessors will be asked to sit out on the application reviews of their own centres and centres where they were employed at in the past five years.  Click here for a full overview of the TJ Committee.

My centre is not able to apply this round. When will the next round of applications open?

We will open a second round of applications for centres that have not previously applied or did not obtain designation in the first round on the 31st of April 2021. Centres can expect to hear back on a decision late November/ early December 2021.

How do I know if a hospital is designated as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence?

We will publish the list of designated centres on our website once the assessment process has been completed.