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 this PIFU 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 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?

The Trust is introducing this new type of follow up because it offers several benefits. These include:

PIFU puts you in control of your own out-patient 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 also 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 have complications after treatment, your symptoms have returned or got worse, please contact us to arrange an appointment on

01708 435000 ext 2303 or 2959 or alternatively email us here

Frequently asked questions

What if I cannot get through to make an appointment?

If you cannot get through using the contact details on this leaflet, please contact the Outpatients Bookings team on 020 8970 8000 who will pass your details to the Ophthalmology team.

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

Because you are on the PIFU list, 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 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 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 on how long you will 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 2303 or 2959  and ask for a patient initiated follow up (or PIFU) appointment, or email us here

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
  • Contact us within the timeframe advised by your clinician

Your feedback:

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.

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