NHS: Patients become experts on their illness

PUBLISHED: 12:19 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010

THE Living Well course is helping local patients with long-term illnesses to manage their conditions better on a day-to-day basis by becoming expert patients. The course (nationally known as the Expert Patient Programme) is a self-management course givi

THE 'Living Well' course is helping local patients with long-term illnesses to manage their conditions better on a day-to-day basis by becoming expert patients.

The course (nationally known as the Expert Patient Programme) is a self-management course giving people the confidence, skills and knowledge to manage their condition better and to be more in control of their lives, helping individuals to move from patient to person.

The course is run for two-and-a-half to three hours a week over a six-week period. It is delivered by trained volunteer tutors who themselves have a long-term illness and have attended the Living Well course.

Liz Hale, a volunteer tutor working with East Cambridgeshire and Fenland Primary Care Trust, said "Each time I tutor a course there are so many good things that happen, both for the participants and for myself.

"As a tutor I live with a long-term condition, and with each course I lead there is something new to learn about how to manage my difficulties. We all learn from each other as well as the course material. That is the great thing about the course. There is a lot of mutual support as we get to grips with the positive changes the course helps bring about."

People who attend the programme learn how to:

# Reduce stress

# Get what they want out of life and overcome difficulties

# Get more out of health services

# Manage the ups and downs of living with their condition

# Maintain their health and fitness

# Develop relationships with professionals and family

# Enjoy a healthy diet

# Look forward and plan for the future.

There is currently a course taking place in Soham Health Centre. A new course is planned for May in Wisbech. Further courses will be planned across the PCT.

Anyone interested in finding out more or attending a course should contact Carol Fentimen on 01353 654253.

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