Expert Patients Programme

Free Online Self-Management Course

Are you reading this online?  You may be interested to know that there is a FREE Online Self-Management course available for local residents, delivered by the Expert Patients Programme Community Interest Company (EPP CIC).  The course is for people who live with a long-term health condition or chronic illness and is being funded by NHS Bournemouth & Poole.  

Download Expert Patients Programme Leaflet

The programme is designed to improve quality of life, reduce feelings of isolation and depression, improve eating habits, improve relationships, reduce visits to health care professionals and help people learn about self managing their illness. 


The purpose of the EPP CIC Online course is to include participants who have a long-term health condition and, due to living in rural areas or the restrictions of their own conditions, are unable to access EPP CIC’s community-based courses. 

As with the community courses, participants can offer advice or problem solve with fellow participants as needed, and are encouraged to set an action plan each week to help them achieve their goals.  There are 2 Online Tutors who facilitate each course and respond to posts that appear each week in the discussion area.

The internet-based course has up to 20 participants at a time, who log on 2-3 times a week for a total of 2 hours.  The programme runs for 6 weeks with an extra 2 weeks of time at the end, to allow participants to revisit or update their sessions or use the many tools the course gives them access to.

Participants are not required to be online at the same time; they can log on at any time, anywhere during the course.  Each week, participants enter the online learning centre, which covers topics like Action Planning and Problem Solving.  They are invited to type in their own experiences and to share these responses with other course participants in the discussion area. 

Anna Thompson, who lives with MS, undertook the EPP CIC Online course earlier this year.  She said: “I felt more confident about doing a course online because going out can be quite hard for me.  The course has changed my lifestyle in that it taught me to do action plans each week and now I set myself targets of trying to get out more.  I’m eating a lot better too, through talking to other people on the course about diet.  And I’ve been sorting out my medication with my doctor: people on the course encouraged me to keep going until I got it right.”

Kathy Nicholson-Banks, Patient Involvement Network Lead at NHS Bournemouth & Poole, comments: “At NHS Bournemouth and Poole we decided to trial the Online option in order to give a wider range of people the opportunity to take part in the Expert Patients Programme.  The Online course allows people who are less mobile or have severe pain to take part in the comfort of their own home and still benefit from the tools and techniques that are on offer.”

People living with long-term health conditions who feel they would benefit from undertaking the Online course should call Freephone 0800 988 5520, email, text 07797 807163 or visit