Doctor’s plea for hospital to end coal use for its energy, heating needs

A doctor has called on Nelson Hospital to end its use of coal, citing health and environmental concerns.  General practitioner Dr Ngaire Warner made the submission with support from Matt Lawrey at a Nelson Marlborough District Health Board meeting on Tuesday.

“I want to table my concerns that this hospital still burns fossil fuels as a portion of its energy sources,” Warner said.  “I am really concerned as a GP about the detrimental health effects that burning fossil fuels has on our community, particularly in this airshed. The community it pollutes into, is home to some of our most vulnerable Nelsonians.”

The hospital uses a combination of coal and landfill gas for heating and electricity. Last year, 33 per cent of thermal energy used by the hospital was produced by the coal-fed boiler. It creates steam to power heating, hot water, sterilisation and cooking. 

Warner said the issue had been put before the health board in 2010 and nine years on, she wanted to address it again.

The smoke stack from the hospital boiler was often visible in Nelson South.