Rx Community: Social Prescribing in Ontario

Client: Alliance for Healthier Communities

This video introduces a pilot program underway between Community Health Centres in Ontario and experts in the United Kingdom on a health care delivery project referred to as Rx Community: Social Prescribing in Ontario.

The basis is simple – connect people who come to their GP with a medical complaint to social supports as well as medical care. Over the past 5 years social prescribing has had a major influence on health outcomes and is now changing health policy in the United Kingdom.

UK studies have shown that up to 40% of visits to GP’s offices turn out to be non-clinical in nature. And, when patients are asked how they could be helped, they often favour human contact over drugs and operations. Currently, 50% of Ontario’s budget goes to health care. How might social prescribing aid our troubled health care system here in Ontario and nation-wide?

Community Health Centres tend to serve marginalized and under-serviced people who are, by in large, the biggest consumers of health care often because they lack the social and economic supports that contribute to good health.

One of the chief critiques of Social Prescribing is that it offers solutions that favour those in higher income brackets, which the CHC pilot seeks to address, as well as another criticism that there is not enough empirical evidence to justify whether social prescribing works or not.

We think you’ll be surprised by the simplicity of the solutions presented.