October 17, 2003
People in East Anglia with chronic health conditions are needed for a pilot trial of a Department of Health programme designed to help manage illness better.
The Expert Patient Programme is looking for people who have to live with long-term medical problems, such as back pain, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire have been selected for the UK's first randomised controlled trial of the programme, which is co-ordinated at a local level by the Primary Care Trust.
Now a trial to test the programme's effectiveness is taking place, and people who volunteer will be guaranteed a place on the course within six months.
People attending the courses learn various techniques to alleviate their condition.
These include how to:
recognise and act on symptoms;
manage a healthy diet;
use the health service effectively;
manage the distress and depression that accompany chronic illness.
Karen Walton, who is delivering the programme in the Norwich area with Dianne Wright, said: "It's very good that our area has been selected for this trial so we now have to make sure we recruit the people we need.
"We want people with chronic conditions to come on to the six week course but we also need people who are prepared to be monitored while not on the programme so comparisons can be made."
The course will work by running sessions of around two and a half hours. Each group will consist of up to 16 people, and the courses take place at various locations around the region.
Anyone interested in taking part in the trial should call 0800 161 3828,
free of charge.
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