Bassetlaw Action Centre
Lizzie Barrett September 26, 2023

Monthly shout out – Expert Patient Programme

Congratulations to our monthly shoutout, the Expert Patient Programme from Bassetlaw Action Centre. The programme is part of a new government initiative to help people living with long-term conditions to improve their quality of life through a self-management course led by someone else with a long term health condition.

The programme is a time-limited course, suitable for people who have any long-term health condition, including Arthritis, Heart Disease, Stroke, Depression, MS, Epilepsy, ME, Schizophrenia, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, HIV and other conditions that impact on a person’s life.

The course has been designed to help people with a chronic or long-term illness regain as much control over their physical and emotional well-being as possible. It complements existing health care programmes and treatments, empowering participants to be more informed and better able to develop partnerships with their medical practitioners.

It is delivered by tutors, who are living with long term health conditions, who use a detailed, scripted manual, underpinned by ongoing research. They work with participants to set practical and achievable action plans that are evaluated weekly.

Last year, Bassetlaw Action Centre received 233 referrals into the programme with 171 people completing at least 4 out of the 6 sessions. 99 per cent of people said they would recommend the service, 96 per cent reported that they felt listened to and understood as well as empowered to make choices and decisions about their health.

Paula Graham, Health and Wellbeing Manager at Bassetlaw Action Centre said, “We are pleased that people who completed the course reported that they have greater confidence in dealing with their illness, experience less pain, fatigue, depression and anxiety. They are more likely to continue with exercise and relaxation techniques; make fewer visits to their GP and have better communication with health professionals.

“The reason the course is successful is because people with different conditions share many of the same problem. No matter what illness they have, it is often the consequences of that illness which causes them problems and reduced their quality of life. This programme helps participants facilitate the development of self-management skills, such as problem solving and goal setting.”

John Bradley, who competed the course, said: “I would like to thank your organisation for providing the excellent course and allowing me to benefit from it. It has given me very valuable knowledge that is already helping me to cope with my COPD. One example is that I study food labels much more diligently and that makes me think of the course.”

Course tutor Norman Shaw said: “As a SWP tutor I find doing this very rewarding in as seeing how the participants change over the course and become more confident in managing their long-term condition. I also find that it is very helpful with my own long-term condition as I am always finding new ideas and learning from the participants.