Health Bus

Sherbourne Health Centre Health Bus Program

History of the Health Bus Program

On September 20, 2002, the Health Bus program—initiated by the Wellesley Central Health Corporation and The Rotary Club of Toronto—was officially transferred to Sherbourne Health Centre. Since that time, the program has grown steadily, providing much needed healthcare services to people who often cannot access health services elsewhere. Now, there are two Health Buses. Each, on average, serves 80 people at every stop, which usually takes close to two hours.

Why operate the Health Bus?

Homeless and under-housed people often have difficulties accessing health care for a variety of reasons, such as lack of an Ontario Health card, lack of transportation or negative past experiences with the healthcare system.

The Health Bus reduces these barriers by going directly to the people, instead of waiting for them to come to the Centre. It makes regular stops at local shelters, drop-in centres, community centres and out-of-the-cold locations. There is no need to make an appointment, get a referral or present an Ontario Health card to get Health Bus services.

The health care providers on this mobile health centre provide both on-the-spot care and health promotion. If a client has more involved needs, nurses on the Health Bus make referrals to specialists and follow-up care. At each stop, our staff also distribute items such as fresh socks and toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo. These simple items can make a big difference for someone in need.

Outreach workers on the bus provide additional services including needle exchange/distribution.

How do the Health Buses work?

The program owes much of its success to the dedicated program staff. They make a difference by supporting people who have concerns about their health, listening to their stories and guiding them down a clearer path in the complex healthcare system.

In addition to the Rotary Club of Toronto, we are proud to work with two dozen community agencies to co-ordinate weekly Health Bus stops.