Putting patients in control of their outpatient hospital appointments

Date: 30 October 2023

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Patient Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU) appointments are being offered to many outpatients by Medway NHS Foundation Trust to give them more choice. 

Instead of attending regular follow-up appointments scheduled by the Trust, PIFU puts patients in control of when they see a clinician as they can book an appointment when they need it most, up to 12 months after the date of their outpatient appointment, before being discharged back to their GP.  

The benefits for patients are:

  • flexibility and choice
  • savings in terms of time and money to attend appointments
  • reduction in the number of journeys to attend what are sometimes unnecessary appointments. 

This in turn creates capacity for more appointments for the patients who need them most. It also reduces the number of missed appointments and cuts waiting lists.

Jayne Black, the Trust’s Chief Executive, said: “Here at Medway we are always looking at ways of putting the patient first and PIFU appointments do exactly that. Patients know themselves best and whether or not they need to see a clinician. PIFU gives clinically suitable patients and their carers, the flexibility to arrange their follow-up appointments as and when they need it based on their symptoms and individual circumstances. In turn it allows our clinicians to see patients most in need more quickly.

“Importantly, PIFU appointments help empower patients to manage their own condition and play a key role in enabling shared decision making and supported self-management in line with the NHS’s personalised care agenda.”

PIFU appointments, which are available in the majority of the Trust’s outpatients’ services, are completely optional and patients can choose to continue having routine follow-up appointments if they would prefer. They are only offered to patients where it is deemed appropriate for the individual.

For more information, or to find out if PIFU is the right pathway for you, ask your consultant during your appointment or speak to a member of the nursing team. You can also click here for more details.

  • Summary:

    Patient Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU) appointments are being offered to many outpatients to give them more choice.