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Two Manchester hospitals receive recognition for ‘world class’ cancer care

Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and The Christie have been recognised as two of the top hospitals in the UK for the care of children with cancer.

Two Manchester hospitals have been distinguished for their world-class cancer care.

The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, alongside The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, has received acclaim for its outstanding services in pediatric neuro-oncology.

Manchester has been designated as providing ‘excellent care’ by the charity Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence.

Named in honour of Tessa Jowell, a prominent British politician and advocate for cancer research and care, these centres strive to provide the highest quality of treatment and support to young patients and their families.

Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital
Grace, who is now nine years old

We spoke to a family from Mossley whose daughter had received treatment at the centre, to find out what makes it great.

Grace was diagnosed with a brain tumour on 20th December 2019, when she was just five years old.

In what must have been a horrendously difficult time, her family found solace and support in the exceptional care provided by the oncology ward, known as Ward 86, at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

Amidst the challenges of treatment, Grace and her family forged bonds with the hospital staff, who became an extended family during their six-month stay.

“Grace couldn’t be left on her own, and she couldn’t eat or swallow her medication. I couldn’t go anywhere, so the staff literally used to bring me food.

All the nurses became my family, and the ward became my home – it saved us. I still miss all the staff to this day,” recalls Grace’s mother, Sam.

Despite the tragic circumstances, Sam and the staff in Ward 86 wanted to create a positive atmosphere for Grace. Sam said: “The oncology ward is a really happy place.

“They were doing everything they could for Grace, and for us as a family. Nothing was too much trouble to keep all the kids entertained”.

“Our bed space was the best dressed. Grace is obsessed with pandas. If you mention pandas to anyone on Ward 86, I’m sure my Grace is the one who springs to their minds”.

The family live in Mossley, just half an hour from Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Sam said: “Despite our circumstances, I see myself as one of the luckiest women in the world. Some people travel hours for treatment, but we have world-class care on our doorstep, especially a consultant like JP.

“JP often tells me when he’s gone to a conference to see new developments in treatment. It’s amazing to see that kind of passion in someone and he treats you as if you’re his only patient”.

Grace came home in June 2020, with both temporary and permanent physical and cognitive side effects from her treatment. Sam and her family have made adjustments for her new additional needs, and she has now returned to school.

Sam said: “Grace is full of character. She’s a good example of living in the moment. She doesn’t have the memory to remember the bad stuff or worry about the future.

“My daughter is doing amazing, and her tumour is currently stable. Everything medics have predicted; she has proven them wrong and I’m so proud of her strength.”

The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission

The Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission recently unveiled a network of 15 brain tumour centres for children, with Manchester being one of the six centres designated as “Excellent.”

Professor John-Paul Kilday, Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, expressed pride in Manchester’s designation as a Tessa Jowell Centre of Excellence, emphasising the collaborative efforts aimed at delivering unparalleled care.

“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,” stated Professor Kilday.

You can find out more about the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital here

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