Expert Patients Programme

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The Expert Patients Programme (EPP) supports adults with one or more long-term health conditions, and their carers, to build the knowledge, skills and confidence to effectively self-manage their condition. Participants can have any long-term health condition such as asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, depression, diabetes, COPD, heart disease, fibromyalgia, sickle cell, HIV, ME/chronic fatigue, chronic pain. The course is designed to help patients self-manage more effectively and improve their quality of life.

The programme consists of six group sessions (held once a week over six weeks) each lasting for two and a half hours, with 12-16 people per course. Programmes are run by two specially trained lay tutors who live with a health condition themselves.

EPP sessions are held online and at accessible venues across Islington and Haringey. Sessions are available on different days and times to suit most people. Demand for evening and weekend courses is monitored and courses provided as appropriate.

Read five top tips for referring patients to EPP (see downloads, right) 

The Benefits of EPP

Whittington Health continuously evaluates EPP outcomes such as the knowledge, skills and confidence a person has in managing their own health and care. Results consistently show improvements in outcome measures on completion of the programme which are maintained at least three months following the end of the programme. For example, in 2019/2020, participants’ ‘activation’, as measured using the Patient Activation Measure’ increased significantly from ‘Level 1’ at the start of the programme to Level 3’ at the end, and three months following completion. Research indicates that such improvements are correlated with fewer GP appointments, fewer A&E attendances and emergency admissions and increased medication adherence.

Feedback from participants shows the difference the course makes:

“This course was very helpful in guiding me on sustainable lifestyle choices. I now understand how I can focus on my health and well-being.”

“EPP has given me more confidence to look after my health - I feel a lot happier.”

“The tutors were excellent. Both are very respectful and having long term conditions themselves means they can relate to challenges faced when living with health conditions”.

The Self-Management Support Service has had recent success working with local GP practices to target recruitment to the Expert Patients Programme for patients with long-term health conditions and carers. Practices sending text messages to their patients with health conditions such as arthritis, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, heart disease, depression and many other health conditions with a brief message has made a great difference in patients’ uptake rate. If your practice is interested in implementing text messaging for the Expert Patient Programme, please refer to this guide.

Eligibility criteria


  • Adults aged 18+
  • Carers
  • Registered with a GP or living in Haringey or Islington
  • Living with one or more long-term health conditions
  • English, Turkish, Somali or Bengali-speaking

How to refer

The following clinicians can refer to this service: GPs, Nurses


Patients can self-refer by telephone or email (please provide patient leaflet).

t: 020 7527 1189



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