You may have attended an outpatient clinic where you were offered a Patient Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU) appointment.

A PIFU allows you to arrange follow-up appointments as and when you need them. This puts you in control of your hospital follow-up and gives you direct access to guidance when you most need it.

Previously patients seen in an outpatient clinic would be followed up at regular intervals. Some patients find these regular follow-ups useful and reassuring. Others find them a source of anxiety and not particularly helpful, unless they have a specific concern they wish to discuss with their doctor or nurse. There is also good evidence that, for most patients, routine follow up at regular intervals does not benefit them and they do not actually need it.

How does PIFU work?

If PIFU is suitable for you, your clinician will discuss your condition with you and add your name to a PIFU waiting list. Instead of being given routine follow-up clinic appointments at regular intervals, you will be able to contact the service directly to arrange a follow-up appointment if you feel you need it. Your clinician will tell you how long you will stay on this PIFU waiting list as it is determined by your clinical condition.

If you do not need to see the doctor or nurse about your condition within the specified period after your last appointment, you will be discharged back to your GP who will re-refer you if you need to be seen again in the future.

Why do we offer this type of follow up?

Some of the benefits of PIFU include:

  • PIFU puts you in control of your own outpatient follow up. Appointments can be made based on your individual needs instead of being at routine intervals, which often do not add value for patients. If you experience a flare-up in symptoms, you will be able to receive guidance when you need it
  • Patients frequently spend time and money to attend appointments that are not essential. The number of people making these journeys will be greatly reduced and we hope it will improve your experience
  • Freeing up appointments means we can reduce the waiting times for people who need an appointment, enabling them to be seen more quickly
  • It will help us to cut down our carbon footprint by reducing the number of unnecessary journeys made to our hospitals.

What do I need to do?

If you experience any problems with your condition, or complications after treatment, please contact us to arrange an outpatient appointment. You will be given a guide card to help you decide whether you need to make an appointment because your symptoms have returned or got worse. Your clinician will tell you what you need to watch out for and will write these down on the card.

How do I book a patient-initiated follow-up appointment?

To book an appointment, call our central booking team on 01823 342 750 and ask for a ‘patient initiated follow-up appointment’. Please note that if you speak to an administrator, secretary, or receptionist, they cannot give clinical advice.

To arrange a PIFU appointment you must:

  • Have been told this is appropriate for you and you have been given a personalised guide card by your clinician.
  • Contact us within the timeframe advised by your clinician

Please remember that it is important that you are available for your appointment. If you find you cannot attend, please tell us in advance so we can try to give your appointment slot to someone else. Failure to let us know you won’t be attending may lead to you being discharged back to your GP.

Lost your guide card?

If you are unsure of when your PIFU end date is, please call the appointments team on 01823 342 750 or e-mail who will be able to advise you.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

How long will I have to wait before I receive an appointment?

Because you are on the PIFU pathway, if you need to be seen because your symptoms worsen, you will be given priority and booked in as soon as possible.

Could I get lost in the system?

No. You will be on a dedicated waiting list for PIFU, which will be checked regularly. If you do not need to see the doctor or nurse at all within the specified period after your last appointment, you will be discharged back to your GP who will re-refer you if you need to be seen again in the future.

Why have you set a deadline for me to make an appointment?

The length of time that you will remain on the PIFU waiting list is determined by your clinician as it depends on your condition and their clinical judgement on how long each patient will need before they can be discharged back to their GP.