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Expert Patient Programme

Within Gloucestershire many patients with chronic pain have had benefit from the programmes run by the Expert Patient Programme (EPP). This  is a self-management programme for people who are living with a chronic (long-term) condition. The aim is to support people by:

  • increasing their confidence
  • improving their quality of life
  • helping them manage their condition more effectively

An introduction to this programme is given at this site.

What is an expert patient?

Many GPs who care for people with chronic conditions say that the patient understands the condition better than they do. This is not surprising as many patients become experts as they learn to cope with their chronic conditions.

There is evidence that, with proper support, people with a chronic condition can take the lead in managing their condition. This helps to improve their health and quality of life, and reduces their incapacity (lack of strength or ability).

An expert patient is someone who:

  • feels confident and in control of their life
  • aims to manage their condition and its treatment in partnership with healthcare professionals
  • communicates effectively with professionals and is willing to share responsibility for treatment
  • is realistic about how their condition affects them and their family
  • uses their skills and knowledge to lead a full life 

About EPP courses

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 (though it is helpful to let them know you're going on the course). Your doctor or your NHS Clinical Commissioning Group teams can help you find suitable courses in your area.

The initial EPP course covers the following topics:

  • dealing with pain and extreme tiredness
  • coping with feelings of depression
  • relaxation techniques and exercises
  • healthy eating
  • communicating with family, friends and healthcare professionals
  • planning for the future

The course is free and consists of six consecutive weekly sessions, with each session lasting around two-and-a-half hours. The sessions are run by two tutors who both have a chronic condition. You can participate as much, or as little, as you wish.


Alternative courses

Most EPP courses are designed to deal with any type of chronic condition, although some courses focus on a specific condition. For example, there is a course on diabetes and one on persistent (day-to-day) pain. There are also several courses for parents and guardians of children with chronic conditions.



The Expert Patients Programme website

A link to the Gloucestershire Expert Patients Programme is given here.



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Pain Service Website, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Webmaster Dr J G de Courcy, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia
email: pain.webmaster[at]

Page updated 4/7/2016