The neuro-oncology service at Barts Health has been recognised as a centre of excellence by the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission.
The award, given to just a handful of services across the UK, recognises the quality of care given to brain tumour patients from our east London communities.
Centre of excellence status is based upon strict criteria which includes clinical practice, training opportunities for staff and research into the disease.
The Barts Health team were praised for their pioneering use of technology to improve patient experience, their inpatient neuro-rehabilitation service and significant stereotactic radiotherapy service.
Neuro-oncology services are provided at two hospitals within the Barts Health group: St Bartholomew’s and The Royal London. Patients are also referred from outside the area for specialist treatment.
Every year over 12,000 are diagnosed with a brain tumour in the UK.
Neurosurgeon Dimitrios Paraskevopoulos said: “This achievement acknowledges the hard work and dedication of the team who, despite the pandemic, have kept on providing fantastic care to our diverse population.”
Consultant clinical oncologist Rachel Lewis said: "I’m proud to be part of an amazing team recognised for its holistic care. Our ‘excellence’ status will reassure patients and their families that they will receive high-quality care throughout their treatment at Barts Health.”
The Mission is a legacy of the late Baroness Tessa Jowell, a former Labour cabinet minister, who, before her death in May 2018, gave a powerful speech in the House of Lords recognising the need to improve brain tumour care, treatment and survival.
She called for “greater collaboration” and the use of adaptive trials to allow patients to access new treatments.
The decision to award centre of excellence status was made by a panel of experts including health care professionals and academics. The assessments included patient feedback.
Barts Health and 10 other centres will take a leading role in the Tessa Jowell Academy, a network for brain tumour specialists which is expected to launch early next year.
Rachel added: “We look forward to sharing ideas and expertise with colleagues across the UK to improve the experience and outcomes for brain tumour patients.”
In 2019 the service, together with the Blizard Institute at Queen Mary University of London, received £1.5million from Barts Charity to boost brain tumour research including the development of new drugs and helping more patients to take part in clinical trials.
Pictured top row: Hannah Lowe, neuro-oncology clinical nurse specialist; Rachel Lewis and Nick Plowman consultant clinical oncologists; Paolo de Luna, neuro-oncology research nurse. Bottom: Grainne McKenna, consultant neurosurgeon; Silvia Marino, consultant neuro-pathologist; Edward McKintosh and Dimitris Paraskevopoulos, consultant neurosurgeons.