Application Process and FAQs

Applications for Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence for Adults closed on 8th May 2024. All UK centres will be invited to apply. If it is your first time submitting an application and you are not yet in contact with the TJBCM team, please email andrew.wright@tessajowellbcm.org.

Click here to view a sample of the 2024 application form (every applicant centre will be sent an individual application form when applications open).

Click here to view the Standards of Excellence 2024 (also available as part of the Evidence Base).

Application Process

Frequently Asked Questions (Application Form)

  1. For question 0.1.2, asking for total new patients treated in last 12 months, does this include patients treated both radically and conservatively?
  • For this question, please include the total number of new patients seen by your service in the last available 12-month period, even if these patients were solely provided with conservative/non-surgical/palliative treatment. As with all questions, please provide details of any assumptions you have made in answering a question, to make sure that the collected numbers are consistent with other centres.
  1. For question 2.4.1, asking for patient numbers for each AHP specialty within the patient pathway, should patient numbers include only new referrals or total number of appointments (including repeat visits)?
  • As with other questions asking for total patient numbers, this question should only include new patients/referrals to each AHP specialty at each location in the patient pathway. If you only have access to alternative data (e.g. total number of appointments), please make this clear and provide an estimate of the percentage of these appointments that are for new patients.
  1. For question 4.1.2, asking for a list of open clinical trials, can we include studies that are opening at our centre in the near future?
  • You may include studies that are confirmed for your centre but not yet open, as long as it is made clear which studies are currently open and which are about to be opened.
  1. To what extent should our answers reflect services provided at other centres, e.g. genomic analysis and certain clinical trials?
  • The purpose of application questions is to allow the committee to understand the services your patients are provided with; if certain services are provided by another centre, you should explain how patients access these services and the steps you take to ensure appropriate turnaround and communication.

Frequently Asked Questions (Process)

  1. If we are currently a Centre of Excellence, do we need to reapply? What if we recently applied to the paediatric centre of excellence programme?
  • The standards have been recalibrated based on changes in practice and feedback from the previous round, so it is important that each centre is reassessed. Similarly, you should apply even if you applied to become a paediatric centre of excellence; the adult and paediatric programmes are separate and have different standards of excellence and questions.
  1. What standards will we be assessed on? How are these standards decided?
  • You will be assessed on the standards of excellence. These are supported by a new evidence base, which will be published prior to applications opening. Like the application form, the standards are based on input from an expert committee of clinicians and academics in brain cancer, and have been calibrated to align with current best practice, alongside any relevant national guidelines, as well as feedback from the last designation round.
  1. What is the difference between a Centre of Excellence and the Tessa Jowell Network?
  • All centres join the Tessa Jowell Network, while only those meeting all standards (and particularly those in sections 1 and 2) will be awarded Centre of Excellence. Therefore, all centres are recognised for the efficacy of their services, but a select number will also be awarded the Centre of Excellence status.
  1. How long will we get to complete the application form? When will the virtual site visits be?
  • The application window will be 11 weeks, opening in the third week of February 2024 and closing on 8th May 2024. Forms will be reviewed over the summer and site visits will be in September, October and November.
  1. One of our team 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 with TJBCM. The assessment process ensures that assessors cannot review their own application or be present during the shortlisting of centres.
  1. My centre provides a specialist service; many of our patients begin their diagnostic and surgical journey elsewhere. 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, and they are required to note which hospital provided that service. Hence, patient feedback will only be considered for the part of the treatment process your centre provides.
  1. Some of my team work in both the NHS and an academic lab. Should I include the work carried out by the academic lab in the application form?
  • Yes, please include any work done by your team in academic posts they held (e.g. if one of your consultants holds a joint appointment at a university or research institute), if that work is relevant to the question.
  1. 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, hospitals who collectively provide brain tumour services are asked to jointly apply and will be designated as one group for purposes of the review.
  1. 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, but are advised to have this on hand for the committee to review if requested.
  1. The current challenges in the NHS has had a significant impact on our services, compared with data collected during 2020-2022. Have the standards of excellence been changed to reflect this?
  • The process has been designed and reviewed by an expert committee of brain tumour specialists to ensure that they are in line with the realistic expectations of an NHS service in the current landscape. Centres are also given an opportunity to highlight challenges they experience.