What is PIFU?

Patient Initiated Follow up (PIFU) is a new way of arranging your hospital outpatient follow up appointments.

Currently, regular follow-up appointments are arranged by the hospital within a specific timeframe. Some patients find these regular visits useful and reassuring. For others, it can be frustrating or stressful coming to hospital if they do not feel they need to due to having fully recovered or experiencing no symptoms.

Through your PIFU plan you can arrange follow-up appointments with your hospital care team, if, you experience worsening of your symptoms related to the condition for which you were last treated. This puts you, the patient (or your caregiver), in control of your follow-up appointments and gives you access to support and guidance when you need it most.

How does PIFU work?

Your clinician may recommend the PIFU plan if it is safe for you to manage your own follow-up appointments. You can agree to PIFU or choose to have a routine follow-up appointment on a set date instead. Once you and your clinician agree (shared decision), you should go onto a PIFU plan then your clinician will give you a set PIFU period and a list of ‘trigger or red flag' symptoms. You should contact us directly within this timeframe to arrange an appointment, if you experience any of the 'trigger or red flag' symptoms.

  • We'll explain the PIFU timeframes based on your procedure or condition.
  • We'll guide you on when and how to contact us if you experience specific symptoms or don't recover as expected.
  • If you have concerns, let us know you're on PIFU, explain your symptoms, and we'll contact you within 3 working days to confirm next steps, as deemed appropriate.

We'll inform your GP about your PIFU pathway through a letter, and you'll receive the same letter.

The PIFU set period is the time window after you've left the hospital service during which you can reach out for a PIFU appointment. Your clinician might assign a PIFU period, such as 3 months, 6 months or more. Within this timeframe, you have the freedom to contact our service directly and request a follow-up. This follow-up can occur through a variety of channels, including telephone, video, or in-person appointments, with the appropriate healthcare professional, whether it be a specialist nurse or a doctor. This flexibility ensures that your follow-up aligns with your specific medical needs.

Contact us directly if your condition worsens or if you experience more severe symptoms related to your last treatment.

For urgent medical advice or different health concerns, contact:

  • General Practice (GP)
  • Pharmacy
  • NHS 111
  • Nearest Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) or Walk-in Centre, for minor injuries or if you require urgent treatment
  • Nearest Emergency Department (A&E), in an emergency, if you're really unwell

Use the telephone number and email address included in your PIFU letter or PIFU information leaflet. When you contact the hospital to book a PIFU appointment, you will be assessed by a member of the team and offered an appointment, as appropriate. 

When booking, inform us you're on a PIFU pathway and provide your

  • Full Name
  • Date of birth
  • NHS/Hospital No. (please see your PIFU letter)

If you find you cannot attend your appointment, please tell us in advance, so we can give it to someone else who needs it.

Please click here to cancel or change your appointment.

If you are under the care of more than one department, your PIFU plan may not apply to all of them.

Some departments may still send you regular follow-up appointments and it is important that you attend these so they are able to monitor your condition.

If your PIFU time has expired, you will need to contact your GP for a new re-referral to the hospital. 

We can provide communication and language support to help with your care.

If English is not your first language, we can arrange for an interpreter at your appointment.

Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access patient information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.

For more information on the support available, please click here.

If you have a concern about your care or treatment, or about any of our services, please click here to be redirected to our Complaints page, which details the different levels of support available to you. 

To conveniently access your PIFU letter or PIFU appointment information online, kindly register on our patient portal (Patients Know Best) via the NHS App - please click here.