Three quarters of people living with long-term health conditions who have attended an Expert Patients Programme (EPP) feel more positive about their situation and more than half feel they are better at getting what they want from health care professionals according to new research.
The survey – commissioned by Expert Patients Programme CIC – showed 75% of those people asked felt more positive, and 78.4% felt they were managing their feelings better as a result of attending a free EPP course.
It also revealed that people living with long-term conditions significantly improved their relations with healthcare professionals and were more likely to speak out (61%) and be more willing to say exactly what they wanted (71%).
Simon Knighton, Chief Executive of Expert Patients Programmes CIC, said: "This research clearly shows the very real benefits people living with long-term conditions can gain by simply attending one of the many varied free courses we run across England.
"The results speak for themselves; not only will EPP courses provide people with practical everyday techniques to help manage their condition or situation, the vast majority of people who attend also feel better about themselves, their confidence increases and their communication skills are improved.
"What that means is that quality of life is improved, people are more able to take control of their situation and influence events - and this all leads to better targeting of NHS resources."
The research also revealed that 60% were coping with pain better and 55% were becoming less frustrated at the symptoms they were experiencing.
EPP CIC was established in 2007 to provide support to people living with long-term illnesses, providing them with greater control over their conditions, increasing their confidence and helping to improve their quality of life.
EPP CIC has been working hard to develop new courses designed to meet people's different needs, including those in marginalised groups. Courses available include the EPP - a six-week course for people with chronic or long-term conditions; carers courses; a Persistent Pain Programme; Staying Positive (workshops for teenagers living with long-term health conditions); and New Beginnings (Mental Health) as well as several disease specific courses.