Expert Patients Programme

The Expert Patients Programme (EPP) is an NHS self-management programme delivered by lay people for anyone living with any long term health condition(s). The aim is to support people to increase their confidence and improve their quality of life.

Read the NHS Expert Patients Programmeleaflet (184 KB) leaflet

EPP CIC is a not-for-profit social enterprise and was established as a Community Interest Company in April 2007. The programme provides self-management courses for people living with any long-term health conditions(s), through the NHS and other organisations interested in running self-management courses. Groups of 8-16 participants, with a mix of different conditions, meet over six weekly sessions and are led through a structured course by trained tutors who are also living with a long-term condition. Each session looks at ways to manage the effects of their long-term condition such as dealing with pain and extreme tiredness, coping with feelings of depression, communicating with family, friends and health professionals and planning for the future.

There is a strong emphasis on participants setting practical, achievable goals which are monitored each week. Core skills such as problem solving, decision making, being resourceful and behavioural changes are also developed throughout the six weeks. This encourages patients with chronic diseases to feel more confident and in control of their lives, ensures that new patients are realistic about the impact of their disease on themselves and their family, helps existing patients share their skills to ensure that others lead a full life, and potentially, makes a positive impact on their disease and quality of life.

Research showed a number of changes in participant’s behaviour. These included a 30% increase in the number of people feeling better prepared for consultations with health care professionals; a 30% reduction in those reporting low energy levels; and a 10% increase in the number of people taking medicine as prescribed.

The Expert Patients Programme began in 1999 through the voluntary sector – Arthritis Care who piloted an arthritis-specific course. The programme was then launched as a pilot in 2002 and following its success was mainstreamed in 2004 when it was rolled out across the wider NHS. It became a Community Interest Company in April 2007.

The roots of EPP are in the self-management programmes developed by California’s Patient’s Education at Stanford University. The programmes aim to improve the physical and emotional health of participants, while reducing health care costs.

NHS Expert Patients Programmeleaflet (184 KB)

More about Expert Patients Programme

Related Initiatives

Self Care Connect

Self Care Connect was launched in October 2007. Self Care Connect is a new resource and networking organisation for everyone with a professional interest in self care.

More about Self Care Connect

Caring with Confidence

Caring with Confidence is a free, knowledge and skills based programme for unpaid carers in England over the age of 18. Topics covered include financial resources, day-to-day caring and coping with the caring role. Funded by the Department of Health, the programme helps carers make a positive difference to their life and that of the person they care for. Carers can access the programme by attending local group face-to-face sessions, completing self-study workbooks, through online sessions or a mix of all three.

More about Caring with Confidence

Staying Positive

Staying Positive workshops are for 12 to 18 year olds and are run by people with long-term conditions who are aged between 14 and 25. The workshops are created by young people and are run by young people for young people. They aim to help participants gain confidence in relationships with friends, family and professionals and learn how to cope with the change from children’s health services to adult health services

More about Staying Positive

Published: 24 July 2009

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