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What are Patient Led (also known as Patient Initiated) Follow Up Appointments (PIFU)?

Many of our patients who have stable long-term conditions or following hospital treatment do not need regular follow-up appointments or routine check-ups with our hospital team, especially in cases where the follow up does not help to improve a condition or identify new problems.

We have introduced Patient Initiated Follow Up service (PIFU) to give patients control of their outpatient appointments and access to our hospital services when you need it (e.g. if you have a flare-up of your condition). This means less anxiety, no more travelling to the hospital, arranging transport, or time away from work attending when you don’t need to.  

This service will reduce the number of unnecessary follow-up appointments and our clinical teams will be able to see more patients, ultimately reducing patient waiting times.

Speak to your clinician to ask if this is an option for you.

Download the following information here.

What is a Patient Led Follow Up? 

Patient-led (or Patient-initiated) follow-up (known as PIFU for short) helps you have better control of when you are seen by your hospital team. It means spending less time attending hospital appointments when you don’t need to, but you still have access to clinical support when you do need it.

If your condition is stable, you may not find it helpful to attend regular outpatient appointments scheduled by the hospital. Sometimes, these appointments may not change your treatment, and you may feel as if you have spent a very short time being seen, despite having to put arrangements in place to attend your appointment. Patient-led follow up (PIFU) enables you to request a follow up if your symptoms have changed or if you need to discuss concerns relating to your condition with your clinician.

This not only benefits you by reducing the amount of times you need to attend hospital but will also free up more appointment slots enabling the clinical teams to see more patients (some of which may need more urgent care) and reduce overall patient waiting times.

If you are on a Patient-led follow up plan, you can contact the team if your condition changes and they will consider the best next steps for you based on the information you give them. This could include further advice, a telephone call, or a booking for a follow up appointment.

When should I call for an appointment when I am on a Patient-Led Follow Up plan?

You should call if you experience a deterioration in your condition and feel the need for further advice and management. Your clinician will have explained changes that you should look out for and when to contact the team.

Your clinic letter will detail how long you will remain on this plan. 

Remember, this is not a replacement for urgent medical advice. If you require urgent medical advice, you should contact your GP, NHS 111, your local walk-in centre or, if you are really unwell, your local Emergency Department (A&E) 

What happens if I don’t call for an appointment?

Your clinician will have discussed what happens at the end of your plan. In some cases this will mean that if your condition has settled and you are well enough to not need further hospital care, the hospital will discharge you to the care of your GP who you can contact in the future.

In other cases we will arrange a review at a point in the future, during which your clinician will discuss the next best steps. This may mean you are discharged to the care of your GP (if your condition has settled), you may continue with your existing plan or you may need to go back onto regular follow-up appointments.

Your GP will be aware that you are on a Patient-led follow up plan and will also be aware when we discharge you to their care if you no longer need hospital support. They can then refer you back to the care of the hospital if anything changes in the future.

If you have concerns over this arrangement or decide that being on a Patient-led follow up plan is not best for you, please let us know and our team will be happy to talk this through and make alternative arrangements if needed.

How do I book an appointment?

The letter that came with this leaflet will explain how to get in touch with us if you need to request an appointment.

Please make sure you have your hospital number and/or NHS number to hand when calling or getting in touch and remember to quote the word “PIFU” so we know you are on a Patient-led follow up. The team will call to discuss your request and arrange an appropriate appointment date if necessary. You may be offered your appointment over the telephone, video or in person at the hospital depending on what is best for you and your condition.

Please remember the person you contact to arrange an appointment cannot offer any clinical advice.

Once you have been seen by your clinician, they will decide the next best course of action for you which may include you remaining as you are or reverting back to regular follow ups.