General Surgery & Vascular
Patient Initiated Follow-up (PIFU)
Information for patients, relatives and carers.
What is a Patient Initiated Follow-Up appointment?
Patient initiated follow-up (PIFU for short) allows you to arrange follow-up appointments as and when you need them. This puts you in control of your hospital follow-up and provides you with direct access to guidance, when you most 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 list. Instead of being given a routine follow-up clinic appointment, 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 the PIFU list, which is determined by your clinical condition.
If you do not need to see the doctor or nurse about your condition within the timeframe discussed at 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 are we introducing this new type of follow-up appointment?
We are introducing this new type of follow-up because it offers a number of benefits. These include:
- PIFU puts you in control of your own out-patient follow up.
- Appointments can be made based on your needs rather than at routine intervals, which often do not add value to your care.
- If you experience a flare-up in symptoms, you will be able to receive guidance when you need it.
- Saving patients time and money they spend attending non-essential appointments. The number of people making these journeys will be greatly reduced and we hope it will improve your experience.
- Freeing up appointments for people who need to be seen, means we can reduce the waiting times for them to be seen more quickly.
- It will also help us to cut down our carbon footprint by reducing the number of unnecessary journeys to our hospitals.
What do I need to do?
If you experience any problems with your condition, have complications following treatment or your symptoms return or worsen, please contact the General Surgery & Vascular PIFU team to arrange an outpatient appointment on 01708 435000 Ext 8193 or 6300 between 9.00am and 5.00pm, or alternatively email us at bhrut.surgical_PIFU@nhs.net
When should I not use PIFU?
You should not use PIFU for medical problems that are not related to the General Surgery specialty and the condition you were originally referred to us for. For other conditions, your GP remains your first point of contact.
Frequently asked questions
How long will I have to wait before I receive an appointment?
Because you are on the PIFU list, 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 list for PIFU, which will be checked regularly. If you have not needed to see the doctor or nurse at all within the period specified at your last appointment, you will be discharged back to your GP, who will re-refer you if you need to be seen again.
Why have you set a deadline for me to make an appointment?
The length of time that you will remain on the PIFU list is determined by your clinician, who will notify you of the timescale. It depends on your condition, and they will use their clinical judgement to decide how long you need to be on the list before you are discharged back to your GP.
How do I book a patient initiated follow-up appointment?
To book an appointment, call 01708 435000 Ext 6300 or 8193 between 9am and 5pm and ask for a patient initiated follow up (PIFU) appointment or email us here.
Please note that if you speak to an administrator, secretary or receptionist, they cannot give you clinical advice. That will be available from the doctor who conducts your PIFU appointment.
To arrange a PIFU appointment you must:
- Have been told that this is appropriate for you
- Contact us within the timeframe recommended by your clinician.
We would love to hear your feedback and would like to contact you either by phone or email to get your views. Please let your clinician know if you do not wish to be contacted.