The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) has awarded six new brain tumour centres – including the Cardiff Neuro-oncology Centre – the “Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence” status.

The award congratulates centres for excellence in treatment, research and care. This is an impressive achievement as despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, these centres have been able to transform their services to elevate their wrap-around patient care.

The Cardiff Neuro-oncology Centre was recognised for its exemplary commitment to service development and improvement. The committee recognised the rigour and dedication that the team took to developing the service following the committee recommendations and the many areas of excellence throughout the pathway. Cardiff was commended for its impressive rehabilitation pathway and the enthusiasm with which it has shared its best practices through the Tessa Jowell Academy for other centres to learn from.

This initiative is part of TJBCM’s national mission to ensure every patient has access to excellent care, no matter where they live. With the addition of six new centres, there are now 17 Centres of Excellence across the UK. In time, it is the Mission’s aspiration that every brain tumour centre in the UK becomes a Centre of Excellence.

Due to the combined catchment area of these six centres, a further 14 million people now have access to excellent care should they need it, with the centres jointly treating more than 1,000 new brain tumour patients per year.

George Eralil, Consultant Neurosurgeon at UHW, and James Powell, Neuro-Oncology Consultant at Velindre Cancer Centre and lead clinician for the Centre of Excellence application jointly said: “We are delighted to have been designated a Centre of Excellence in recognition of our ongoing commitment to developing our services to improve patient experience and outcomes.

“Our status as a centre of excellence within the Tessa Jowell Foundation network will provide staff within the team access to the very best learning and training experiences around the UK, which will be of benefit to patients locally. For patients, the Centre of Excellence status provides reassurance about the availability of excellent care and commitment to improvement in the NHS within the Cardiff team. In addition, it will ensure ongoing access to the latest clinical trials for patients in Cardiff.

“Wales is now on the neuro-oncology map of the United Kingdom as we take immense pride in welcoming the FUTURE-GB trial, amongst others, into Cardiff. The Tessa Jowell accreditation as a Centre of Excellence is both deserved and humbling. However this would not have been possible without the sheer dedication, goodwill and excellence of every member of our truly special and inclusive team. We look forward to being part of the Tessa Jowell movement.”

To be considered for this award, centres implemented specific feedback from the Mission and made a range of service improvements over a period of 18 months. Highlights include: better access to biobanking, increased nurse staffing, improved provision of care for low grade tumour patients, new nurse-led clinics, further specialised neurosurgery services, quicker turnaround of key diagnostic tests and improved access to rehabilitation services.

In addition to the Cardiff Neuro-oncology Centre, the list of centres who obtained Excellence status this year include:
– The East of England service (Cambridge University Hospitals, Norfolk Norwich Hospital and Ipswich Hospital)
– Oxford University Hospitals
– The Bristol Network (North Bristol NHS Trust, United Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Trust)
– Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
– Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Jess Mills, Tessa Jowell’s Daughter and Co-founder of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, said: “We are one step closer to achieving this incredible ambition of excellence for all. The reason we are moving forward at this fast pace is due to the combined efforts and commitment of the doctors, nurses and support staff in each of the hospitals.”