The Christie and The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital are designated a ‘Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence’ for Paediatric Neuro-Oncology

Press release posted 25 April

The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) has proudly announced a new network of 15 brain tumour centres for children, of which six centres are designated as excellent.  

Manchester (The Christie and The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital) is one of the six centres designated as “Excellent”.

Manchester was commended for its well-organised multidisciplinary care, exemplary imaging, chemotherapy and radiotherapy services, excellent education and rehabilitation services and an impressive portfolio of national and international brain tumour research.

Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence logo

This award marks the first step towards the TJBCM’s vision that “every child with a brain tumour will not only survive but also receive the highest quality of treatment, care and research opportunities”.

Each year, around 420 children are diagnosed with a brain tumour in the UK (1). After a detailed review process across the UK, the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission (TJBCM) proudly announces a new network of 15 brain tumour centres for children, six of which have been designated excellent, including Manchester.

Dr Stephen Lowis, who led the review process, said: “In every team in every city, we found remarkable examples of exceptional and compassionate care. This initiative will support all centres across the UK to develop their services, through national collaboration and sharing of examples of excellence.”

The launch of this brand-new initiative marks the first stage in a national effort to further elevate the treatment, care and research for children with brain tumours.  For families and young patients, this recognition will provide confidence in the services delivered by centres in the network. The Mission found remarkable examples in every centre of NHS staff working well beyond what was asked for, to deliver excellent care for their patients.

The nationwide review process further provides an in-depth understanding of children’s brain tumour care and research in almost every centre across the UK. Funded and supported by the NIHR and the Mission’s partner charities, TJBCM will use these findings to launch new programmes aimed at further elevating services across the country.

Manchester (The Christie and The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital) was awarded Centre of Excellence designation after a thorough, expert-led review of services.

A photo of the Manchester Neuro-oncology - Tessa Jowell Foundation accreditation team standing outside of the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital.
Caption: Manchester Neuro-oncology - Tessa Jowell Foundation accreditation team

Manchester met the Tessa Jowell Standards of Excellence in all aspects of treatment, care and research, with many areas of outstanding service provision. Manchester has a highly-organised shared care network and well-trained team which delivers excellent imaging, chemotherapy and radiotherapy services. Patients benefit from comprehensive rehabilitation and play therapy opportunities and an impressive national and international research portfolio.

Dr Gillian Whitfield, Clinical Oncology Consultant at The Christie, said: “We are delighted to have been accredited as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence for Children’s Neuro-oncology in conjunction with our partners at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“The Christie has a long history and expertise in treating paediatric patients with a brain or spinal cord tumour with radiotherapy, and since 2018, we have been one of only two NHS high energy proton beam therapy centres delivering a highly specialist national service to the highest standards.”

Professor John-Paul Kilday, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, said: “We are very proud to join a select few centres nationally to be designated as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence for Children’s Neuro-oncology. This accolade celebrates the hard work and dedication shown by every member of our multidisciplinary service. Working closely with our partners at The Christie, we strive to provide an exemplary level of care to children diagnosed with a brain or spinal cord tumour. This accreditation assures patients and families of the standard of care they can expect from the Manchester Neuro-oncology service, whilst serving as a professional benchmark for our team to both uphold excellence and nurture future progress.”

Manchester is one of six distinguished centres awarded the coveted Centre of Excellence status, having met the high Standards of Excellence across all 168 areas along their patient pathway. Areas assessed include clinical care, quality of life care and access to clinical trials. Special attention was paid to play therapy and education provision, key elements of children’s cancer care. These centres are: 

  • Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust
  • Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (GOSH) and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) Joint Centre
  • Greater Manchester Children’s Neuro-oncology Service: The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
  • Newcastle Hospitals and Newcastle University
  • Nottingham Children’s Hospital at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Staff will receive the awards during a ceremony at the Science Gallery London on 6 June 2024 in London.

Richard Gilbertson, Chair of the TJBCM and Paediatric Oncology Clinician Scientist, said “This initiative has received an overwhelming and enthusiastic response from the paediatric neuro-oncology community. Together, we are working to ensure all children with a brain tumour receive the very best care, wherever they live.”

Jess Mills, Tessa Jowell’s daughter and TJBCM co-founder, proudly said “Mum’s legacy to transform outcomes for brain cancer patients across the UK has reached another huge milestone. It has been so moving to witness how committed the teams caring for children in hospitals are to come on this journey with us.”

Dr Nicky Huskens, CEO of the TJBCM, said “The outcome of this rigorous process has been re-assuring. Every centre that participated provides good care, with six providing exceptional care. Going forward we will be working with our partners in the charity, public and corporate sectors to provide bespoke centre support and launch new meaningful national initiatives to improve brain tumour treatment and care.”

Louise Shepherd CBE, Chair NHS England’s National Children and Young People’s Board, said: “It is fantastic to see NHS hospitals across England being recognised as centres of excellence. These awards are a fitting tribute to Tessa Jowell and her dedication to excellence in cancer care, as well as to the NHS staff who work tirelessly to provide the best treatment and support to the children and their families. The NHS is committed to diagnosing and treating cancers as early as possible to give people the best chance of beating the disease, and I encourage anyone who is experiencing any worrying symptoms to contact their GP immediately – getting checked can help save lives.”

(1) CRUK. Cancer Research UK. [Online].; 2022 [cited 2024 03 18. Available from:

Last updated: April 2024