PATIENTS with long-term illnesses can now turn to the Internet for support following the launch of a health website.

The site is aimed at people living in Sedgefield borough with conditions such as arthritis, asthma, back pain, diabetes, heart conditions, multiple sclerosis and mental health issues along with their carers.

It has been put together in a partnership project by Sedgefield Primary Care Trust (PCT), Sedgefield Expert Patients Forum and the Princess Royal's Carers Forum in a bid to help people live with their illnesses.

Those logging on will be able to get practical advice and tips on how to make life easier. They will also be directed to the services that are available to them such as Care in the Chemist, transport, Young Carers and local support groups.

The site will enhance work being carried out by the Sedgefield Expert Patients Programme, which has so far helped more than 150 people with long-term conditions by offering courses on helping people manage their illnesses.

The programme is offering a new course aimed at carers called Looking After Me that will start at the beginning of next year.

Susan Lee, health improvement facilitator for the Working Age Adults at Sedgefield PCT, said: "The website is full of practical help and support for patients on how to live with a long-term medical condition.

"We hope that the new site and the Expert Patients Programme will help patients to manage their condition better, reduce the need for medical intervention and advise carers on aspects associated with caring such as welfare benefits and the role of chemist, as well as provide details of local support groups.

"We are delighted to have finally launched it and hope to see it evolve over the coming months.

"It will not only benefit patients and their families, but will also be a useful resource for professionals.''

To find out more about the site and its services log on to For details about Looking After Me, call Pam Lawson on (01325) 321234.