PIFU (Patient Initiated Follow-up)


Instead of being offered regular clinic visits and routine check-ups, PIFU means that you make your own appointments when you need them.

As a PIFU patient, you can contact us or book an appointment if and when you need advice or guidance from a specialist about symptoms relating to your condition.

NHS PIFU Logo

How does PIFU work?

Your consultant will discuss with you in clinic whether you are suitable to have PIFU follow-ups or be discharged via PIFU instead of having appointments scheduled by the hospital. Managing your appointments this way is optional, it is your decision.

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You will be given a PIFU card or letter highlighting symptoms to look out for and the contact details to use. The hospital team will explain how PIFU works, answer any questions you have and offer you an information leaflet.

What are the benefits of PIFU?

PIFU puts you in control of when you access care and treatment from your hospital department.

PIFU means spending less time attending hospital appointments, but still having access to support from a hospital specialist when you need it.

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Feedback from patients using PIFU is that they avoid unnecessary trips to hospital and this saves them time, money, and stress.

There are 2 different types of PIFU:

Discharge via PIFU

Move to PIFU

Discharge via PIFU

Discharge via PIFU is for patients with shorter-term acute conditions or illnesses who may be able to self-manage their condition or may only need short-term or occasional support from the hospital team before being discharged, for example, following a procedure or surgery.

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Research has shown that planned follow up appointments do not help to prevent conditions returning or lead to new problems being identified.

Move to PIFU

Move to PIFU is for patients with stable long-term conditions who do not require regular follow up by the hospital team.

Kingston Hospital exterior

Planned follow up appointments do not help new problems to be identified and, in fact, your condition may flare up in between regular appointments and it is during these times that you need our input.

Why have I been offered PIFU?

You and your hospital specialist have agreed that PIFU is the best option for you. It is important that you look out for changes in symptoms and that you are confident to contact us about these.

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How do I book a PIFU appointment?

The service is quick and easy to use.

If you have any of the symptoms listed on your hospital letter or PIFU card, contact the department and say that you are on PIFU or Patient Initiated Follow-Up. They will

  • ask you to describe your symptoms
  • ask if you have any special requirements that we need to take into account when we organise your appointment
  • pass this information on to the specialist team
  • get back in touch within 72 hours (3 days) to arrange a phone or face to face appointment (you will not be given any clinical advice during these initial phone calls).

If your situation changes and you no longer need your appointment, or you need to change your appointment date, phone and tell us straight away.  We will then be able to offer your appointment slot to someone else who needs it.

When not to use PIFU

PIFU is not a replacement for urgent medical advice.

If you require urgent medical advice, contact your GP, NHS 111 or your local walk-in centre.

In a medical emergency, go to your local Emergency Department (A&E).

For all other concerns or if you are feeling unwell, contact your GP. They remain your first point of contact.

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GP Practice

Will the hospital still be looking after me if I do not call for a PIFU?

Discharge via PIFU

Your hospital specialist will tell you how long you will be on PIFU.  At the end of this time, if you have not used PIFU, we will discharge you back to the care of your GP and they will refer you to hospital if you need any further specialist care.

Move to PIFU

You will still have follow-up appointments with us. Your specialist will decide how often these will take place. Please phone your hospital department to find out more about this. 

What if I have a special communication need?

Please tell your hospital department or ask someone else to contact us if you have a special communication need. We will offer information and communication in a format that you find easy to use and understand.  For example, this could be large print if you have problems with your eyesight, you may need written communication and face to face appointments if you are deaf, and easy read information if you have a Learning Disability.

Please tell us whether a virtual or face to face appointment will best meet your needs.

We need your feed back to improve our PIFU services

You can give quick anonymous feedback about PIFU by:

Scanning this QR code with a SMART phone or tablet or
clicking PIFU Feedback Survey if you are reading this leaflet online.

QR Code for giving feedback about PIFU

Alternatively, you can call PALS on 020 8934 3993 to feed back by phone.

If you don’t want to take part in surveys, you can tell us by contacting your hospital department or by choosing to ‘opt out’ of the national programme that allows confidential information about you to be used for research and planning. Visit this website to learn more about this and to opt out.

Make your choice about sharing data from your health records – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Patient leaflets about PIFU


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