Nhs Choices

Type of service:
Health Services
77 London Road, Northamptonshire Health Care Trust, St Marys Hospital, Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN15 7PW
Telephone number:
01536 410141
Service description:
On a self-management programme, you learn how to cope with day-to-day life when you have a long-term condition. The course teaches you skills to boost your confidence and help you become more independent.

It can give you advice and other information on:
- dealing with pain and tiredness
- eating well
- how to arrange an appointment with a doctor or other healthcare worker
- how to cope with stress

By the end of the course, most people feel much more positive about living with their condition, and are more confident about getting on with life afterwards. They also go on to teach others by sharing their experiences.
There are many self-management courses available, depending on where you live. Some are for a variety of long-term conditions, while others are for a specific condition, such as diabetes.

The Expert Patients Programme (EPP)
This is a six-week course run by tutors who also have a long-term health condition. The purpose of the course is to enable you to take more control of managing your own health by:

- sharing and learning from other people's experiences
- teaching you ways to manage your symptoms
- finding new ways of doing things that you want or need to do
- finding ways to cope when you're feeling low

So far, more than 100,000 people have attended an EPP course. All places on the course are free and they are held in many parts of England. Many people feel better afterwards, and are more confident and less anxious. They also visit their GP less, take less time off work, have less pain and need to take fewer medicines.
The EPP course is open to anyone with a long-term condition. You don't need to be sent by your GP or hospital doctor, although it is helpful to let them know you're going on the course. Your doctor or local NHS organization can help you find suitable courses in your area.

Read about Angie's experience of a patient-led EPP course and how it changed her life for the better.

Self care courses for people with a specific health problem can be shorter – sometimes just a couple of hours – and may consist of talks given by a doctor, nurse or other healthcare worker, or other patients.
Examples include:
- DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating)
- DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) – self care courses for people with diabetes
- Challenging Arthritis – courses run by Arthritis Care for people with fibromyalgia or arthritis
- Be in Control – materials from Asthma UK that help people with asthma take better control of their condition

You could ask your GP or another healthcare worker about getting on to a local course.

Self-help groups for long-term conditions
If you're not ready for a structured course such as the one listed above, try a local self-help group. They're less formal and are often a stepping stone to a disease-specific course or an Expert Patients Programme. For more information, read our page on finding out more about your condition.
Not provided
Age range:
0 - 99 years
Eligibility criteria:
  • Long Term Health Conditions
Referral route:
  • Self Referral
Last updated on:
Location map: