Expert Patients Programme (EPP)

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October 2020: service update

Please note that the Expert Patients Programme (EPP) is now being offered on-line as a facilitated group on MS Teams. Practices are asked to continue to refer patients with long-term conditions, and family members/carers, to the programmes. 

Patients will be directly contacted by the programme provider, Whittington Health, and supported to access the group programme on-line if desired. If patients prefer face-to-face, their details will be kept (with permission & review) until such time as face-to-face group programmes are being delivered.

For more information, please contact Whittington Health, Self-Management service:

t: 020 7527 1189 / 020 7527 1707


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 health condition such as asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), depression, diabetes, COPD, heart disease, fibromyalgia, sickle cell, HIV, ME/chronic fatigue, chronic pain, or any other condition. 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 take place in various accessible venues around Islington and 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 (PDF) 

The Benefits of EPP

Whittington Health's EPP programme uses the Patient Activation Measure (PAM) to evaluate outcomes. Patient Activation measures the knowledge, skills and confidence a person has in managing their own health and care. Results consistently show an average increase in PAM scores of 11 points and an average increase of one PAM level (out of four possible levels). Each point increase in PAM score correlates to a 2 per cent decrease in hospitalisation and a 2 per cent increase in medication adherence.

Research published by the Health Foundation shows that supporting patients to manage their health conditions can reduce avoidable use of health services. An analysis of PAM responses collected from more than 9,00 patients in Islington CCG found that, compared with those who felt least able (PAM level 1), those who felt most confident and able to manage their health condition (PAM level 4) had:

  • 18 per cent fewer GP appointments
  • 32 per cent fewer A&E attendances
  • 38 per cent fewer emergency admissions

and were 32 per cent less likely attend A&E with a minor condition that could be better treated elsewhere.

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 an Islington GP or living in 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