Luton nurse wins award for inclusive palliative care

Mark Pedder, a palliative care specialist nurse from Bedfordshire, has received a regional award in recognition of his work to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of compassionate end-of-life care.

Mr Pedder was last week named the winner of the Health Hero Award at the 2023 Luton’s Best Awards, held annually as part of an initiative to promote the Bedfordshire town.

“It was overwhelming to receive the award and achieve the recognition”

Mark Pedder

He began his career aged 16 in a care home and is now an inclusive health palliative clinical nurse specialist at Keech Hospice Care in Luton.

His employer said Mr Pedder strongly believed that quality end-of life-care should be accessible for everyone, whatever their situation or background.

It cited his recent work, titled ‘What Have I Done to Deserve This’, which saw him run free webinars for care staff and the public on the needs of LGBTQIA+ people with a terminal diagnosis.

Keech said Mr Pedder was now working on a new initiative to help people in the local homeless community access end-of-life care.

It noted that people in homeless communities often did not realise the care that hospices offered was free for everyone and that they were eligible to receive it.

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Through collaborations with charities and night shelters, Mr Pedder was helping to change perceptions, allowing for greater accessibility and equitability of care for homeless people.

Speaking on his earlier initiative, Mr Pedder said: “There’s an unmet need for LGBTQIA+ individuals receiving palliative care.

“When you have someone already in a vulnerable position, who becomes more vulnerable because of a life-limiting condition, feelings of stigma and shame can reignite.”

On winning the Health Hero Award, he said: “It was overwhelming to receive the award and achieve the recognition.

“I chose a career in compassionate and inclusive end-of-life care because I saw from an early age how important it was.

“Receiving this accolade is incredible, because it brings healthcare equality into the spotlight and helps raise awareness of it to a wider audience.”

Liz Searle, chief executive of Keech Hospice Care, said: “We are so lucky to have Mark as part of our amazing Keech team and are constantly impressed by the work he does.

“Homeless people are not exempt from an end-of-life diagnosis, yet how often does society stop and think what it must be like to die cold and alone on the streets without access to specialist care?”

She added: “Mark is dedicating his time to bringing this to everyone’s attention and we couldn’t be prouder of him.”

Launched in 2012, Love Luton Community Interest Company, which runs the awards, is a partnership of local organisations working together to “create confidence, pride and a positive image” for Luton.

The winners of the 2023 awards were announced at a ceremony held at the Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf and Spa on Friday 26 January.

Mark Pedder

Mark Pedder

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