Peggy Mardell

Innovative nurse leader

Peggy Mardell entered the nursing profession unusually as a fever nurse, at a little-known infectious-diseases hospital. She took her general training at a hospital in a small town. But there she was a gold medallist and, while she never worked at famous hospitals, she became a regional nursing officer who befriended senior nurses in a time of stressful change.



Peggy Joyce Mardell, nurse: born Edmonton, Middlesex 8 July 1927; Assistant Regional Nursing Officer, North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board 1964-70; Chief Regional Nursing Officer, North West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board 1970-74; Regional Nursing Officer, North West Thames Health Authority 1974-82; CBE 1982; died Worthing, West Sussex 2 May 2004.



Peggy Mardell entered the nursing profession unusually as a fever nurse, at a little-known infectious-diseases hospital. She took her general training at a hospital in a small town. But there she was a gold medallist and, while she never worked at famous hospitals, she became a regional nursing officer who befriended senior nurses in a time of stressful change.

If Mardell was missing from her office, the stock answer to the query "Where is Miss Mardell?" was "Probably looking for someone who needs help". It was a habit she acquired early. When she was a girl, her father, Edward Mardell, a master-craftsman carpenter in Edmonton, north London, and her mother, Edith, were not always pleased when their only child brought home a stranger with a problem whom she had befriended.

It was an instinct which led her to nursing, although later she was to joke that she chose nursing because she wanted a career which was secure and carried a pension at the end of it. She left the George Spicer School, Enfield, at 17. Nineteen was the youngest age at which she could start training as a general nurse, so she took a fever-nurse training at Highlands Hospital, London.

Having become a registered fever nurse, she reverted to a student nurse for the general training at East Suffolk Hospital, Ipswich. There she won the gold medal as the best student of her set. Later she gained an honours diploma as a nurse tutor. She also qualified as a midwife. She was a teacher at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, after being ward sister and night sister at Bethnal Green Hospital in London.

She entered administration as assistant regional nursing officer with the North East Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board in 1964, becoming chief regional nursing officer with North West Metropolitan RHB in 1970 and regional nursing officer to its successor, North West Thames Health Authority, from 1974 to 1982, through the major reorganisation of the NHS.

In these posts she was an innovator and facilitator. She picked out skills in people and developed them. She had to oversee the transfer of community nursing services from local authorities to health authorities. She started the first move toward computerisation, and was particularly concerned with manpower planning. From 1970 to 1982 she was the nurse member on Surrey Area Health Committee. In 1982 she was appointed CBE.

Her hobbies were renovating antique furniture, gardening, reading, animals and all things Italian. She liked the novels of Dickens, but her favourite book was Gerald Durrell's My Family and Other Animals. She had a succession of dachshunds as pets and finally was sharing, with her friend Daphne Powell, the rehabilitation of an ill-treated Jack Russell, who survives her. (She also adopted a donkey, Tom Harrison, at Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary). She spent her holidays in Italy, was a fluent Italian-speaker, and had only recently fitted out the bathroom in her Worthing flat with a Venetian theme.

Laurence Dopson

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created