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Brain tumour care recognised

Brain tumour care recognised

12 March 2021

Colleagues who deliver outstanding care and treatment for brain tumour patients have been recognised for their efforts.

The ‘Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence’ status has been awarded to Newcastle for the way experts help patients battle the life-threatening condition.

Professor Katie Bushby, former Professor of Neuromuscular Genetics in the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, has been working with the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission on this initiative.

Professor Bushby believes the charity and awarding of the Centre upholds the values and memory of her late husband and Emeritus Professor Jimmy Steele, who was Head of Newcastle University’s School of Dental Sciences, and sadly died of a brain tumour.

The newly introduced ‘Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence status’ recognises the delivery of outstanding care and treatment by University scientists and NHS colleagues at the Newcastle Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, in their efforts to provide above excellent patient care through a difficult time. The bid was led by oncologist Dr Joanne Lewis at the Trust.

Professor Bushby said: “We brought together a multidisciplinary group of experts to define what excellence would look like for brain tumour care, and from those standards devised an exhaustive application process.

“We were delighted when 20 centres applied to become centres of excellence. All demonstrated good standards of care and a patient centred approach, but nine were outstanding and will be the flagship Tessa Jowell Centres. I am delighted to say that Newcastle Hospitals Trust is one of them.

“The overall aim is now, via the Tessa Jowell Academy, to raise standards across the centres who did not quite reach the standard for designation in this round so that over the coming years no patient in the UK is left without access to the highest standards of care.”

Removing health inequalities

Professor Bushby’s lifetime within Newcastle University, working on centres of excellence for rare diseases both locally and internationally, and her background, meant she was a great fit to volunteer to lead on the programme that the Mission was developing to designate “Tessa Jowell Centres of Excellence” across the UK.

And the challenge is something she believes Jimmy would have whole-heartedly supported, adding: “Jimmy believed strongly in getting rid of health inequalities. Lack of access to the best possible treatments for brain tumours will hopefully become a thing of the past thanks to this effort.

“Our family was lucky enough to be supported through his diagnosis and treatment here in Newcastle by what we now know is one of the best centres in the country.

“I know that Jimmy would want everyone diagnosed with a brain tumour to have access to that same level of care as he did.

“We all miss Jimmy every day, his family, his friends and colleagues locally and round the world.

“We are pleased to think that we can still influence at least some of the many areas he held so dear, by this initiative and by the alumni fund we have established to enable greater access to dentistry to students from less advantaged backgrounds.”

The Scholarship programme set up in honour of Professor Jimmy Steele OBE raises money to make it possible for more disadvantaged students to study undergraduate dentistry and ultimately follow a career in dental sciences.

The first students to benefit from scholarships will begin their studies at Newcastle University later this year.

To add your support and donate to the Jimmy Steele Memorial fund visit our Make a donation page.