How the Green Prescription works
Here’s how the Green Prescription (GRx) process works for the health professional and patient.
- The health professional (GP or practice nurse) issues their patient with a Green Prescription (GRx), provided the patient’s medical condition is stable.
- The script is either written or issued electronically. If the patient wants ongoing support, the script is forwarded through to the nearest GRx Patient Support Person.
- The Patient Support Person encourages the patient to become more active through:
- monthly telephone calls for 3-4 months or;
- face to face meetings for 3-4 months or;
- group support in a community setting for 3-6 months.
- The patient’s progress on their path to an active lifestyle is reported back to the referring health professional.
- If the patient feels they would benefit from ongoing support, they are encouraged to ask their health professional for another GRx.
Not sure what level of exercise is appropriate? Download ‘What Intensity – A Guide to Exercise and Activity Levels’ from the Resources page.
The Green Prescription (GRx) initiative is a health professional's written advice to a patient or their family to encourage and support them becoming more physically active as part of a total health plan. The scheme encourages general practitioners to target several medical conditions associated with inactivity, and has been used by over 80% of New Zealand general practitioners.
The initiative consists of two components: GRx (for adults) and the GRx Active Families programme which aims to increase physical activity for children, young people and their families, and was introduced in 2004.
GRx began in 1998. The initiative was transferred from Sport and Recreation New Zealand in 2009 to the Ministry of Health with the expectation in future that funding would be more closely aligned with other services helping manage long term conditions.
Most referrals for GRx are to support prevention and management in patients with chronic disease and long term conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In particular, GRx encourage patients to manage their own conditions by increasing physical activity and improving nutrition.
Core GRx funding of $3.784 million was transferred from SPARC to the Ministry with additional one-off funding of $1.6 million which ended in July 2012.
In May 2013 an additional $7.2 million, over the next four years, was allocated to the GRx budget to increase adult referrals, particularly for patients with pre-diabetes or diabetes. Adult referrals are expected to double in this time to total 68,000 in 2016/17.
On 1 July 2012 the Ministry devolved GRx funding and management to district health boards (DHBs) to enable better co-ordination of initiatives at a regional level and fit with plans for better integration of health services. The Ministry maintains national overview of the initiative and monitors progress through quarterly reports and annual surveys.
Some DHBs and PHOs contribute funding to the initiative to provide group programme support and strengthen the nutrition component of GRx..
There are currently eighteen providers contracted to deliver the GRx initiative to referred patients and families. Fourteen of these are regional sports trusts, two NGOs (HealthWest, Otara Health) and two are PHOs (Nelson Bays and Marlborough/Kimi Hauora). Providers cover all DHB districts. These providers will continue unchanged until at least June 2014.