UNISON, the UK's largest public sector union, has won six figure compensation for a young nurse whose life was blighted when she developed an allergy to latex. Tanya Dodd, 25, was a trainee nurse at the Scarborough General Hospital when she developed type 1 latex allergy from gloves she wore routinely as part of her job.

The compensation claim was pursued by Thompsons Solicitors in Leeds.

Tanya now lives with the very real fear that if she accidentally comes into contact with latex it could send her into anaphylactic shock that can lead to death. She has to live in a latex free environment, including replacing everyday items such as hairbrushes, pens, mobile phones and shoes with latex-free alternatives. She has also been forced to change her diet to eliminate foods which have similar proteins to latex, such as melon and grapes.

Latex caused damage to health

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: "Tanya Dodd had a promising career ahead of her as a nurse, but her life and career have been blighted by the negligence of her employers. No amount of money can adequately compensate Tanya for the damage to her health and the constant threat of serious illness hanging over her.”

"Employers must realise that they must take the health and safety of their staff seriously. The dangers of developing latex allergy are well documented, and the solution is simple - provide latex free gloves. Scarborough General Hospital did not. Moreover, Tanya was threatened with disciplinary action if she was caught using the gloves." 

Commenting on the case, Tanya Dodd said: "I am devastated that I will not be able to continue my work as a nurse. I was in the middle of training when I developed the allergy. The dangers of latex were not mentioned during my training and I wasn't advised to minimise my exposure to it.”

"The only type of glove available on the wards was latex based. I was told that if I was caught using latex-free gloves without special authorisation from occupational health and the ward sister, then this was a punishable offence.”