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Centre of Excellence Award for OUH and Brain Tumour Network


Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), alongside the Thames Valley and Northamptonshire Brain Tumour Network, are one of six new centres to become a 'Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence' in recognition of its world class brain tumour service.

The status, awarded by the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM), follows rigorous expert-led assessments and highlights the outstanding commitment, care, and treatment staff at OUH provide brain cancer patients.

It also celebrates excellence in treatment, research, and care during the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to OUH, the Thames Valley and Northamptonshire Brain Tumour Network, set up in 2001, includes Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust, and NHS Frimley Health Foundation Trust.

The team was recognised for its commitment to service development. The TJBCM committee commended the service for its strong nurse resourcing, which provides excellent support for patients at all stages of their treatment wherever they live in the area.

It also highlighted the efforts made by the team to address the feedback of the committee, strengthening the service's palliative care offering.

The award letter added: "Above all, Oxford embodies the human-centred culture of kindness and compassion that Tessa advocated for during the course of her illness, providing wraparound holistic care that meets the patient where they are."

Prof Puneet Plaha, Consultant Neuro Oncology Surgeon and Lead of OUH Neuro Oncology and the Thames Valley and Northamptonshire Brain Tumour Network, welcomed the award. He said: "We are thrilled as a network to be named as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence, and we are very proud that our patient-centred approach and the high standard of care in Oxford and across the network has been recognised in this way.

"The award reflects the hard work and commitment of OUH staff, as well as those across the Thames Valley and Northamptonshire, in all that they do to care for our patients, who we hope can feel confident in knowing that they are going to receive care of the highest quality at what is a very distressing time for them."

The TJBCM is a legacy of the late Baroness Tessa Jowell, who gave a speech in the House of Lords in 2018 championing the need to improve brain tumour treatment, care, and survival for all patients, regardless of where they live.

The brain tumour service in OUH and its network hospitals has improved significantly over the past decade with patients having access to best expertise and latest technology for surgery, analysis of tumour tissue, stereotactic radio-surgery radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

The total number of Centres of Excellence has now increased to 17. Due to the combined catchment area of the new 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.

Dame Cally Palmer, National Cancer Director for the NHS in England, said: "It is fantastic to see yet more NHS hospitals across the country being recognised as Centres of Excellence – these six new awards are 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 and now to continue to provide life-saving cancer services."

Professor Katie Bushby, Vice Chair and Designation Programme Lead at Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, said: "The award not only celebrates the centres’ hard work to push for excellence, but also formalises the teams’ commitment to continual service improvement. We look forward to continuing to work with all centres to ensure a culture of commitment to excellence and service improvement."

Pictured, from left: Nurses Colwynn Phillips and Kate Mottram; Vasileios Apostolopoulos, Consultant; Prof Puneet Plaha, Consultant Neuro Oncology Surgeon and Lead of OUH and the Thames Valley and Northamptonshire Brain Tumour Network; and Val Russell, Nurse