With 12,000 people diagnosed with a brain tumour every year in the UK, there has never been a more important time to recognise the efforts of NHS staff committed to developing and improving brain tumour treatment and care.
The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) has awarded six new centres excellence status including the East of England service (Cambridge University Hospitals, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Ipswich Hospital).
This award congratulates centres for excellence in treatment, research and care.
The initiative is part of the TJBCM’s mission to ensure every patient has access to excellent care, no matter where they live.
Stephen Price, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Addenbrooke’s and Clinician Scientist at the University of Cambridge, said: “We are delighted to be designated as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence as it means that brain tumour patients can be confident they are receiving the highest level of NHS care and have access to the most up to date treatments.
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.
The East of England service was recognised for its commitment to equality of access for patients across the region, with the Cambridge University Hospitals, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Ipswich Hospital teams working closely together to ensure excellence in treatment and care for all patients no matter where in the region they lived.
The committee commended the Addenbrooke’s hospital team for their impressive efforts to further improve their rehabilitation services and the innovative Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme.
Nicola Day, clinical specialist physiotherapist in oncological rehabilitation and exercise at CUH, contributed to the submission and said: “Becoming a centre of excellence recognises the contribution of all members of the multidisciplinary team in providing the best possible care for our patients diagnosed with a brain tumour across the East of England.
"I’m delighted that our rehabilitation services have been particularly commended, which is credit to our in-patient teams alongside the success of our Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT) funded outpatient rehabilitation programme, developed for patients undergoing cancer treatment at the hospital.”
Cambridge is also leading the way in genetic testing, with patients with the most aggressive and fatal form of brain tumour, called glioblastoma, being offered a more detailed diagnosis and tailored treatment plan through rapid whole genome sequencing.
“The new Centre of Excellence status recognises the research strengths at Cambridge where the newly funded CRUK Brain Cancer Virtual Institute at the CRUK Cambridge Centre and the integrated Minderoo Precision Brain Tumour Programme are bringing together clinicians and researchers to tackle this cancer of unmet need.” Added Stephen Price, who also co-leads our CRUK Brain Cancer Virtual Institute.
“Our staff will now have access to the Tessa Jowell Academy for training and sharing best practice across other Centres of Excellence enabling us to continue to improve clinical care and community support services for people living with a brain tumour across the whole of East Anglia.
"As a Centre of Excellence we will also have new funding opportunities for research to better understand and treat brain tumours.”
All six centres will continue to share their expertise with staff in other centres through the Tessa Jowell Academy, the Mission’s national learning and networking platform. This will ensure that multidisciplinary teams continue to connect with peer centres across the country and learn from each other’s excellence to support service improvement nationally.
Jess Mills, Tessa Jowell’s daughter and TJBCM’s Special Adviser 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.”
It is hoped that for the 88,000 British people currently living with a brain tumour, the excellence status provides reassurance about the availability of excellent care and commitment to improvement in the NHS across the UK.
Offering precision cancer treatment is a key aim of the planned new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital, bringing together clinical expertise from Addenbrooke's with cutting-edge research from the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre and University of Cambridge.
The new specialist cancer hospital will combine modern NHS clinical space with three new research institutes dedicated to fulfilling the ambitions set out in the government's Life Science Strategy and the NHS Long Term Plan.