Court give trust go-ahead to name NHS Supplies Authority as co-defendant inlatex gloves court caseThe NHS Supplies Authority is likely to be sued in a chain of damages claimsinitiated by a nurse who says she can no longer work because of latex gloveallergy. In one of about 50 claims currently in motion, the courts have for the firsttime given leave for an NHS trust to name the authority as a co-defendant.Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust has until the end of the month to take up theopportunity. “This is very significant,” said Graham Johnson, professionaldevelopment manager for MTL Medical Services and an expert witness in a numberof latex glove cases. “It will be the first time the authority has beenbrought into the courtroom. “Currently a hospital can ask the NHSSA to send gloves that are knownto be inherently dangerous. The NHSSA argues that since there is a market forthese gloves it must offer them. But the same could be said for Semtex. Theauthority owes a duty of care to the trusts it supplies.” Karen Heyhoe, the registered general nurse bringing the case against EssexRivers, said, ‘The Supplies Authority has a huge case to answer. The healthauthority does rely on it for the best deal and cost-effectiveness. If it isgoing to supply these gloves it should be doing research as well into theirsafety.” The NHSSA catalogue continues to offer powdered latex examination andsurgical gloves despite warnings from the Medical Devices Agency about thepotential risks of allergens released by both the powder and the latex proteinsused in some gloves’ manufacture. About 80 per cent of trusts no longer use thegloves. Last month, in an out-of-court settlement, an unidentified trust paid£30,000 in compensation and offered re-employment to a healthcare worker itdismissed in 1997 because of glove-related ill-health. Daniel Bennett, solicitor with Leigh, Day & Co which is acting for 10latex allergy sufferers, said most of the trusts in question are eitheradmitting or declining to challenge liability. “We are able to demonstrate between 15 and 20 breaches of statutoryduty,” Bennett said. “It is clear from the documentary evidence thathealth trusts were not and are still not assessing the risks under the PersonalProtective Equipment at Work regulations, nor are they doing risk assessmentsrequired under the COSHH regulations. These failures are making it very easy towin these cases.” Next Article Comments are closed. NHS supplier faces courtOn 1 Jan 2000 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.