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Help at hand for those living with long-term health conditions

Press release – February 22 2018



Jan Stevenson’s experience of living with Crohn’s disease is inspiring people in Herefordshire with long-term health conditions to live life to the full.

Jan is a volunteer tutor on the Expert Patient Programme – a self-management course run by Wye Valley NHS Trust for people with long-term health conditions which is helping scores of local people turn their lives around every year.

“I attended the course two years ago and it made a huge difference - it was brilliant and has helped me see my illness in context,” said Jan, who lives near Ross-on-Wye.

The course gives people with long-term health conditions strategies and plans to help them manage their condition – importantly, they are led by people with long-term conditions who can speak from personal experience.

“It changed my life and continues to do so as there’s a group of us from the course I initially attended who continue to meet and support each other,” added Jan, who has been trained as a volunteer tutor and has delivered several of the six-week courses in the last couple of years.

“We cover a number of topics which cover everything from being alert to symptoms, to decision making, action planning and diet and exercise.

“These are key areas which empower people with long-term health conditions to take control and manage their illnesses. We’ve seen some amazing transformations – sometimes this happens after just the first week of the course.

“We understand that there will be some people who are very outgoing and others who would rather just listen and take in the information. These courses are for everyone and there’s no pressure. The sessions are friendly and we want people to feel comfortable and enjoy our time together.”

Jan added that becoming a volunteer tutor on the course was her way of giving something back to the community.

“It’s incredibly rewarding and means I can continue to share my experiences and the learning I have gleaned from other people who have long-term conditions to help more people.

“If there’s anyone out there who feels they might benefit from attending the course, please take that first step and get in touch – you won’t regret it”.

Jan is one of the tutors at a new Expert Patient Programme group which starts in Ledbury on February 20 and in Ross-on-Wye on May 17. Other courses are also being held in Hereford, Bromyard and Leominster.

Sue Tobey, Expert Patient Programme co-ordinator at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “We’re very fortunate to have volunteer tutors delivering the courses who themselves have experience of long term health conditions and fully understand many of the issues faced by the participants.

“It’s this first-hand experience that empowers the participants to reach for their goals and achieve them, and we want to encourage as many people with long term health conditions as possible to take advantage of this free course and to become volunteers to help other people with similar conditions”.

Volunteer tutors are fully trained before they start delivering sessions themselves, and always deliver courses with an experienced co-tutor.  Although the role is voluntary, any out of pocket expenses and travelling costs will be reimbursed.

Full support and guidance is available for volunteers whilst delivering the course and also when help and advice about any aspect of tutoring is needed. There are also regular tutor meetings and social activities.

Anyone wanting to join the Expert Patient Programme at Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye, Hereford, Bromyard or Leominster should contact Sue Tobey on 01432 364463.


Pic caption:

Jan Stevenson - using her experience of living with a long-term health condition to help others.

Note to editors:

Wye Valley NHS Trust is a provider health services across Herefordshire and beyond.

The Trust exists to improve the wellbeing, independence and health of the people we serve. We are the leading provider of health care in Herefordshire.

By working closely with our partners, we can make good our promise to deliver a quality of care we would want for ourselves, our families and our friends.

With an estimated annual turnover of around £180 million, we employ around 2,700 plus staff. We aim to build new relationships between our staff, patients, service users and their carers with the wider community.

For further information please contact the Trust communication team on 01432 372928 or 01432 355444 x5105.

Contact Details

John Burnett
Communication and engagement manager
Tel: 01432 372928

Amanda Millichip
Communications officer
Tel: 01432 372928

Fiona Gurney
Communications officer
Tel: 01432 372928


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The County Hospital
Trust Headquarters
Union Walk

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