Tessa Jowell centre of excellence status recognises partnership between St George’s, Royal Marsden and Royal Surrey County Hospitals.

The brain tumour centre provided jointly by St George’s, the Royal Marsden Hospital and Royal Surrey County Hospital 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 over 500 new patients seeking treatment at the jointly delivered centre, 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. The service we provide was measured against a range of criteria, including our 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. The centre we run jointly with colleagues at the Royal Marsden and Royal Surrey County Hospital is one of nine hospitals across the UK to receive the recognition.

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 our staff 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, our staff now offering 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.

Timothy Jones, Consultant Neurosurgeon at St George’s, and lead clinician for the centre, said:

“We are very proud and honoured to be awarded designation as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence. This reflects many years of collaborative working across South West London and Surrey, striving to get the very best diagnostics, surgery, oncological treatment and holistic care for patients with brain tumours.

“Through access to state of the art surgical and oncological equipment, world-leading research into brain tumours and by fostering a culture of putting the patient first and foremost in decision-making, we have seen immeasurable improvements in patient’s journeys through this devastating disease with a positive impact on both quality and quantity of lives. We wholeheartedly commend the aims and objectives of the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission and very much look forward to working with them in the future.”

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 SGRMRS 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.”

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.”

Tessa Jowell Centres 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