Expert patients lead the way in living well with long-term conditions

People in Bradford City are leading the way in learning to live well with long-term health conditions – thanks to a new course which has been designed and delivered by patients, for patients.

Almost 40 women from the City area are due to complete an Expert Patient Programme (EPP) course this week. The six-week course has helped them learn more about how to manage their health condition and stay well and in control.

NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has funded the course in response to patients saying they wanted more locally-delivered education and support about how to look after themselves, while living with a long-term condition including: diabetes, heart problems, asthma, depression, arthritis and epilepsy.

Bradford patient Zulfiqar Hussain told CCG clinical leaders how the programme helped him after he suffered a heart attack.

He told the CCG’s governing body how the course had made a big difference to his life by teaching him how to stay well and manage his condition through lifestyle changes. Zulfiqar went on to become an EPP tutor and help many other people benefit from the course.

The CCG decided to fund a new round of courses – uniquely designed and delivered by trained patients who have had the same health conditions, for patients. So far two courses have been run, aimed at Asian women who are living with a variety of health conditions, and more are planned for next year focusing on mental health and diabetes.

The EEP is a nationally-recognised programme to support patients to improve their health and wellbeing by helping them gain confidence, skills and motivation to deal with their own health problems, in addition to other clinical and support services they may receive.

Max Mclean, lay member for patient and public involvement at Bradford City CCG, said the EPP was a great way for the CCG to help patients to be more in control of their health problems.

“We know from Zulfiqar and other patients how beneficial the EPP can be and that’s why wanted to fund these courses and provide some really practical support to our patients,” said Max. “This was a clear message from patients and exactly the type of information we need to hear about to help us make commissioning decisions for the future.

“This is a great example of patients directly influencing the way services are provided and telling us what matters to them most.”

The courses help people learn how to:
• break out of the symptom cycle
• become more active and less tired
• deal with difficult emotions
• make choices and plans which work for them
• eat healthily.

The first courses were advertised in community groups and in the future GPs will be able to refer patients onto relevant courses.