Doctors in Canada can now prescribe national park visits

The programme is part of an effort to increase access to nature and its related health benefits.

Canada launched a new programme allowing doctors to provide their patients with a free annual pass to the country’s national parks.

Doctors across four provinces will be provided with an initial run of 100 passes to prescribe thanks to a collaboration between Parks Canada and PaRx, a health initiative launched by the BC Parks Foundation in 2019.

According to The Washington Post, the typical park prescription programme will allow doctors to “write more general prescriptions for time spent out in nature; two hours a week, at least 20 minutes at a time”.

“Given the growing body of evidence that indicates nature time can improve all kinds of different physical and mental health conditions, we’re hoping that our PaRx program not only improves patient health, but reduces costs to the healthcare system, and helps to grow the number of people who are more engaged environmental advocates,” Prama Rahman, a coordinator for the BC Parks Foundation’s Healthy By Nature Program, told NPR in an email.

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