I took the course about 3 years ago and it was great. It tries to help you to help yourself. It covers handling your illness, setting achievable goals/targets, coping with depression and fatigue, how to communicate with family, friends and the medical profession(easier said than done, lol). It also tells you about additional services offered by the chemist for example - Did you know to report medication side effects to your pharmacist to be officially logged or that you could pick up an emergency info container for your fridge from the chemist?
You work through a manual which is yours to keep, plus you get to discuss issues with the group and learn from each other. It's a great opportunity for you. My gp and rheumy knew nothing about it so don't wait for them to suggest it. As far as I'm concerned you should be automatically told about it as soon as you're diagnosed. I'm still in contact with about 5 of the people I met on that course, so if you just make some new friends it'll be worth it. Xxx