Outpatient appointments

We are changing the way we deliver outpatient care to better suit you.

You will be in control, which will give you more choice over how and when you access your care. This should make it more convenient for you, so that your appointments fit in with your lifestyle and preferences.

Patient initiated follow-up outpatient appointments

We have started offering patient initiated follow-up (PIFU) outpatient appointments and putting follow-ups in your hands, which is where you arrange a follow-up appointment as and when you need it, rather than at routine intervals. This means you avoid unnecessary appointments, saving you time and money, causing less stress and anxiety.

Research has shown that having a regular outpatient follow up appointment does not help to prevent your condition returning or identify new problems.

By booking an appointment when you need it, this will help reduce unnecessary visits to hospital, reduce patient waiting times and release clinical teams to see more patients in a timely manner.

We’d like to reassure you that you will still be able to access follow-up care if you need it. By providing earlier expert advice and reducing unnecessary appointments, we will have more time to see patients who need us most. This means we’ll be able to see you sooner if you do need an appointment.

Reducing face-to-face outpatient appointments helps to free up our clinicians’ time for other clinical work such as new appointments, diagnostics and procedures and patients who need us the most.

Why have we introduced this new type of follow up?

This type of follow up, that is initiated by the patient, when agreed by your clinician, offers a number of benefits:

  • More convenient and faster for you to access specialist care when you need it
  • More control over your follow-ups, making them more personalised and tailored to your personal needs and circumstances, including an opportunity for video or telephone consultations, if appropriate
  • You won’t need to come to hospital as often if you don’t think it’s necessary, saving you time, money and stress travelling to appointments
  • With fewer patients coming in unnecessarily, we can free up clinician time, meaning appointments are available more quickly for those that do need them
  • Less travel means less pollution reducing our carbon footprint and creating a healthier environment for all of us

How it works

You may previously have had pre-arranged follow-up appointments with your doctor even when your symptoms were under control. It is likely these appointments were face-to-face in a hospital or clinic.

If a patient initiated follow-up is suitable for you, your healthcare professional will discuss this with you and add your name to the PIFU appointment list.

Instead of being given routine follow-up clinic appointments, you will need to contact the service directly to arrange a follow-up appointment if you feel you need it.

You will be advised of the symptoms you need to watch out for and given a guide to help you decide whether you need to make an appointment because your symptoms have returned or got worse.

The guide will provide information of who to contact to arrange a follow-up appointment.

We are also introducing new digital platforms to make it easier for you to arrange a follow up appointment and to receive specialist advice.

Patients on an active pathway and other exemptions where a follow-up appointment is essential will not be placed on PIFU.

What do I need to do?

If you already have any outpatient appointments booked, please continue to attend.

We will be in touch with you if we think you would be suitable to go on onto PIFU.

What do I do in an emergency or have symptoms not related to my ongoing hospital care?

If you require urgent medical advice unrelated to your condition, you should contact NHS 111, which is available 24/7 online or over the phone.

In an emergency, call 999 or go to your local Emergency Department (ED). For all other concerns, or if you are feeling unwell, your GP remains your first point of contact.