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Patient initiated follow-up

Giving patients great control over their hospital follow-up care

Many patients, with long term conditions or following hospital treatment, are offered a follow up appointment at a set time for on-going care. However we know that some patients will require an appointment sooner and others may not need an appointment at all. Patient initiated follow ups (PIFU) give patients and their carers the flexibility to arrange follow up appointments as and when they need them.

We are expanding patient initiated follow ups across many of our specialities to support you to receive the care and support when you need it.

How it works

If a patient initiated follow up is available and suitable for you, the healthcare professional responsible for your care will discuss this option with you. They will explain to you what a patient initiated follow up is, what symptoms to look out for, and when and how to contact the hospital to get support. A joint decision will then be made as to whether a patient initiated follow up is right for you at this time.

Once placed on a patient initiated follow up you will be able to contact the hospital to seek support from the clinical team for your condition.

If you have a new or different condition you will need to contact your GP for support as your patient initiated follow up can only be used for the existing condition.

There are two types of patient initiated follow ups depending on your needs:

Patient initiated follow up (time limited)

If you are placed on this patient initiated follow up this has a time limit to it and you will only be able to contact the service for a set period of time for example 6 months (the clinician will specify how long your PIFU is valid for). Once your PIFU has expired you will be required to seek support from your GP instead.

Patient initiated follow up (long term)

If you are placed on a long-term patient initiated follow up you will be able to contact the service between planned appointments or review dates to seek advice or an appointment where needed. At your next appointment or review you and your Clinician may choose to continue on a PIFU or may decide an alternative outcome depending on your condition.

When should I book an appointment?

Get in contact with us if you feel your condition is getting worse or you are experiencing symptoms which your Clinician informed you to look out for.

How do I book an appointment?

If you feel you do need another appointment, please phone the number on your trigger card (if you have one), or clinic letter. If you're not sure what number to call contact the relevant call centre: 0117 9230000 for Bristol hospitals or 01934 636363 for Weston hospital.

How long will I wait for an appointment after I contact you?

Once you get in contact, you will be triaged by a clinician within 10 working days. They may decide to speak to you on the telephone before confirming an appointment. If an appointment is required the clinician will indicate how quickly we need to see you depending on the urgency of your symptoms.

Why are we using patient initiated follow ups?

We believe you should be at the centre of your care. Patient initiated follow ups place you in control of your follow up appointments. The aim of PIFU is to provide a more responsive service for you without the need for regular appointments. Many people find that hospital follow up visits can cause anxiety, travel costs, and frustration when busy clinics run late.

PIFU can reduce overall waiting times, and lead to a better service for patients, as less patients are seen unnecessarily.

Why have I been put on PIFU?

We have put you onto PIFU because we think you can self-manage your condition. However, if your condition changes or your symptoms worsen you can get in contact with us again, without having to go back to your GP for a new referral.

What is a Trigger Card?

You may have been given a trigger card by your clinician. Your trigger card will help you decide when you should contact us; the card is designed to fit in a purse or wallet so that you can conveniently refer to it. The trigger card may highlight any symptoms that you should look out for and how to contact the team for help. If you have not received one refer to information in the letter you will have received after your appointment confirming you were placed on a PIFU.