Patient-initiated follow-up appointments

Patient information leaflets

In 2020, we began to make patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) appointments available to our patients.

We are rolling out PIFU service by service to make sure the process suits the needs of each different service and their patients. Information about PIFU in other services will become available as this develops.

What are follow-up appointments?

Follow-up appointments are where patients are asked to return to hospital to have their progress checked, to undergo tests, or to get test results.

Follow-up appointments are scheduled in once a patient’s care is being managed or if they need a check-up.

What are patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) appointments?

With regular follow-up appointments, some patients come to hospital at times when they are feeling perfectly well and symptom-free. These appointments may not result in any change to a patient’s treatment. But the patient will have spent time and energy putting arrangements in place to attend their appointment.

PIFU puts patients in control of when they see their specialist. It means patients having access to clinical support when they need it, and for some it will mean spending less time attending hospital appointments.

Some patients may find their condition flares up in between regular booked appointments, and it’s at this point that patients really do need input from their specialist. With PIFU, patients can get advice from their clinical team when they need it.

Patients initiate the follow-up appointment, instead of the hospital – this is why this process is called patient-initiated follow-up.

Will I be offered PIFU?

Our clinical teams in the available services will tell patients if they are suitable for PIFU. If you are interested in being on a PIFU pathway for your follow-up appointments, please speak to your clinician.

Patients can continue with regular appointments if they want to – they do not need to take up PIFU. We will provide lots of information about how it works and how to initiate a follow-up, so that patients can choose how they would like their follow-up appointments to work.

What our clinicians are saying

Dr Stuart Kyle, consultant rheumatologist: “We are really excited to begin offering PIFU to some of our patients. These are patients we know well, and we’ll only recommend it if we feel it is right for the individual patient and their clinical condition.”

stuart kyle

Lyndon White, head of podiatry: “PIFU will enable us to provide better support to our patients with long-term conditions, giving them more control and flexibility over how they manage their appointments. Patients have been asking for this, and we’re delighted to offer this through PIFU.”

Lyndon White head of podiatry

Last updated: April 14, 2021