Publish date: 03 March 2021


Alongside nine other centres, UCLH is proud to become a ‘Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence’ in recognition of its world class brain tumour service. The award, announced on 2 March 2021, recognises the delivery of outstanding care and treatment by NHS staff. The award is part of a national strategy to improve care for people with brain tumours by the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission. 

The Centre of Excellence status, based on a range of criteria, includes excellent clinical practice and training opportunities; emphasis on patient quality of life; providing clinical trials and offering a high standard of research opportunities. Patient feedback on their experience of the service is also used in the assessment. The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission is a legacy of Baroness Tessa Jowell who gave a powerful speech in the House of Lords recognising the need to improve brain tumour treatment, care and survival for all patients three years ago.

Dr Naomi Fersht is a consultant oncologist and brain tumour lead at UCLH. Welcoming the award, she said, “We are thrilled to become a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence. The application process is very robust and measures all aspects of care. The award is a highly visible, tangible way of providing reassurance for patients and their families and carers. They can feel confident in knowing that they are going to receive care of the highest quality at what can be a very distressing time. 

“The aspiration to create the Tessa Jowell Academy, a learning network, also provides an excellent opportunity for us share best practice with other leading centres. We are looking forward to working with peers to continue to improve care and treatment for people living with brain cancer across the UK”

The UCLH Brain Tumour Unit (BTU) was set up in 2008 as a beacon for the support and care of patients with brain and rare CNS tumours and a hub for specialist care. The sole aim of the BTU is to provide specialist care aimed at improving survival rates and, more importantly, contributing to improving quality of life for adults with brain tumours. The Unit has led the way in developing trailblazing care – this includes the first ward dedicated to the care of neuro-oncology patients, the first UK Brain Metastasis Clinic and the first Vocational Rehabilitation Clinic as well as first use of the interventional MRI scan in the UK. We are also due to become one of only two UK centres for proton beam therapy, an advanced form of radiotherapy and have specialised consultants, a dedicated clinical nurse specialist and a dedicated palliative care consultant. Our links with UCL provide excellent research opportunities which translate into pioneering patient care. 

The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission is the first charitable mission led by the Tessa Jowell Foundation and has been inspired by her call for action to improve brain cancer treatment, research, and survival following her own devastating diagnosis. Visit for more information.