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New Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence announced

Two more NHS Brain Tumour Centres have obtained Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence status, joining nine others across the UK.

The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) has awarded excellence status to Barts Health (St Bartholomew’s Hospital, The Royal London Hospital, Whipps Cross, Newham University Hospital, Mile End Hospital) and the Liverpool Network (The Walton Centre, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and North Wales Cancer Treatment Centre) for providing excellence in patient treatment, care and research. These newly appointed Centres of Excellence will play a leading role in accelerating innovation, sharing their knowledge and expertise with other NHS centres to help improve care across the UK.

Founded in 2018 to lead a new national strategy for brain tumours, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) has led the national assessment for the Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence, and is committed to help all UK centres achieve ‘excellence’ status in the future. 28 of the 30 UK Brain Tumour Centres have now participated in this extensive review, with 11 obtaining excellence status and the remaining centres working hard to obtain this status as soon as possible.

All of the centres who participated underwent an extensive assessment process which involved 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. All centres designated also need to pass a review conducted by an expert assessment committee. Barts Health and the Liverpool Network have both been awarded Centre of Excellence status in the most recent round of designations. The assessment process for designation is backed up by our Improving Brain Tumour Care Surveys, which provide comprehensive patient feedback for the process.

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 The TJBCM stress that all UK Brain Tumour Centres who participated in the review provide safe and good care, meeting national guidelines.

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 an 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.

Dr David Jenkinson, Interim CEO and Chief Scientific Officer at The Brain Tumour Charity

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.

Patient feedback into this process is vital, if you have been diagnosed with a brain tumour, or care for someone who has, and would like to help us to effectively represent patients’ voices and experiences in the future, please take our Improving Brain Tumour Care Surveys.

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