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Monday, 19 April 2021

NUH Brain Tumour Centre awarded Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence status

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Nottingham University Hospitals’ brain tumour centre has been recognised as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence following rigorous expert-led assessments by the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.

With more than 12,000 people diagnosed every year with a primary brain tumour in the UK, and 500 new patients seeking treatment at Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH), the award has been introduced to recognise hospitals for their excellence in patient care. It represents a step change in the neuro-oncology landscape across the UK.

NUH was measured on a range of criteria, including its excellent clinical practice and training opportunities; emphasis on patient quality of life; providing clinical trials and offering a high standard of research opportunities. Led by a committee of experts in the field and virtual site visits, the assessments were backed up by patient feedback about the care they received. It is one of ten hospitals across the UK to receive the recognition.

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At least 88,000 British people are currently living with a brain tumour but over 5,000 people a year will lose their lives to it. The “Excellence” status provides reassurance about the availability of excellent care within the NHS and positive recognition for its staff at Nottingham University Hospitals who, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, continue to go above and beyond for their patients. Due to the strain Covid-19 has placed on the NHS, NUH’s brain tumour centre now offers virtual clinics for patients.

Founded to design a new national strategy for brain tumours, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission is committed to helping as many hospitals as possible achieve the “Excellence” status in the future. To achieve this, the mission is launching the Tessa Jowell Academy, a national platform allowing hospitals to share best-practice to improve their services, as well as one-year fellowships for doctors to further specialise in brain tumours.

Jess Mills, Co-Founder of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission and Tessa’s daughter, said:”Mum’s mission throughout 50 years of her political life was to tackle systemic inequality. So, it was tragic whilst fitting, that her final campaign was a call to arms to create universal equality in access to excellence in cancer care throughout the NHS. It is with immeasurable pride that just 3 years later, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission has begun the real-world translation of that vision into reality.

“We are thrilled to have awarded Nottingham University Hospitals for its excellent ongoing work for patients and commitment to support other centres in reaching the same level of Excellence. Shockingly, the UK still has one of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe, but in time, the Tessa Jowell Centres will make the UK a global leader in the treatment and care of brain tumour patients. We have a long way to go until the cutting edge of science is delivered to every patient, but this is a huge and transformational first step.”

Stuart Smith, Clinical Associate Professor Neurosurgery at Nottingham University Hospitals, said: “This award recognises the high standards we strive for in brain tumour care at NUH, and the many years of hard work by a large number of staff to develop a patient-centred service across the East Midlands. We are delighted to continue to work with the TJBCM and other national bodies to deliver improved care for brain tumour patients and their families. The Centre of Excellence includes the exciting translational science programmes conducted in liaison with world class researchers at the University of Nottingham, which we hope will improve outcomes for people with brain tumours in the future.”

Cally Palmer, NHS England national cancer director, said: “This award is a fitting tribute to Tessa Jowell and her dedication to excellence in cancer care, as well as to all the NHS staff who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to continue to provide life-saving cancer services, and it is great to see NHS hospitals across the country being recognised as centres of excellence.

“NHS services are open and ready to help those who need cancer care, and I encourage anyone who is experiencing any worrying symptoms to contact their GP immediately to improve chances of a successful recovery.”

With 12,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour every year, there has never been a more important time to recognise the work of the teams that have helped patients through their brain tumour journey:

  • The newly introduced ‘Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence status’ recognises the delivery of outstanding care and treatment by NHS staff at Nottingham University Hospitals in their efforts to provide above excellent patient care through a difficult time
  • Staff at Nottingham University Hospitals go above and beyond, providing excellent care and treatment to 500 new brain tumour patients every year
  • Three years ago, Baroness Tessa Jowell gave her powerful speech in the House of Lords recognising the need to improve brain tumour treatment, care and survival for all patients
  • Brain tumours are often found at later stages; only 12% of adults survive for five years after diagnosis highlighting the need for further innovation in brain tumour care

Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence:

  1. University Hospitals Birmingham
  2. Edinburgh Centre for Neuro-oncology
  3. King’s Health Partners of King’s College Hospital & Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals in London
  4. Leeds teaching hospitals NHS Trust (Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital)
  5. Salford Royal Foundation Trust and The Christie (Manchester)
  6. Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  7. Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust
  8. St George’s University Hospital, Royal Marsden Hospital and Royal Surrey County Hospital
  9. University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Over £700M is spent on cancer research in the UK every year, yet less than 2% of that is dedicated to brain tumours. The Mission, which will be supported by the All-Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours chaired by Derek Thomas MP, to secure further support for NHS centres to enable more of them to achieve the “Excellence” status in the future. To kick-start additional monetary support, the Tessa Jowell Foundation, the charity set-up by Tessa’s family to lead the delivery of her legacy, has announced a fundraising appeal to raise £4M to enable the centres to excel after the network is launched.