Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust's brain tumour centre awarded 'Centre of Excellence' status

The brain tumour centre which is part of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has been awarded a 'Centre of Excellence' status.

By Immy Share
Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 6:00 am
Tessa Jowell
Tessa Jowell

NHS staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) provide care and treatment to 150 brain tumour patients every year - and have now been recognised for their excellence.

Following expert-led assessments, criteria measurements and virtual site visits - including LTHT's clinical practice and training opportunities; emphasis on patient quality of life; providing clinical trials and offering a high standard of research opportunities - the centre has been awarded the Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence status.

The assessments, which were led by the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, were backed up by patient feedback about the care that they received.

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Baroness Tessa Jowell died in 2018 at aged 70 after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour.

She had previously given a speech in the House of Lords which recognised the need to improve brain tumour treatment, care and survival for all patients and the Mission was later set up to deliver her defining public health strategies and design innovative solutions to transform brain tumour treatment, research and survival.

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 three 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 LTHT 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.”

According to research conducted by Cancer Research UK, more than 12,000 people are diagnosed with a primary brain tumour every year in the UK - and these are often found at later stages - with only 12 per cent of adults surviving for five years after diagnosis.

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.

Professor Susan Short, Clinical Oncologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are immensely proud of the excellent care delivered by the whole neuro oncology team in Leeds and very pleased to be able to contribute to a national effort to improve the experience of all brain tumour patients through designation as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence”.

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.”

Statistics from Cancer Research UK also show that at least 88,000 British people are currently living with a brain tumour and over 5,000 people a year will lose their lives to it.

The “Excellence” status provides reassurance about the availability of care within the NHS and positive recognition for its staff at LTHT 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, LTHT brain tumour centre now offers virtual clinics for patients.

LTHT is one of nine Trusts across the UK to receive the recognition.

Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence:

University Hospitals Birmingham

Edinburgh Centre for Neuro-oncology

King's Health Partners of King's College Hospital & Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals in London

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital)

Salford Royal Foundation Trust and The Christie (Manchester)

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust

St George’s University Hospital, Royal Marsden Hospital and Royal Surrey County Hospital

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust