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Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust now offers the option of ‘Patient-Initiated Follow-Up’ (PIFU) appointments for some clinically appropriate outpatients. This means that rather than having regular follow up appointments that may not necessarily be required, you are given the control to seek an urgent or non-urgent input if and when you require it.

It can save you time and money and puts you in charge of your outpatient care.

What is Patient-Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU)?

Patient-initiated follow-up (PIFU) puts you, the patient, in control of when you are seen by your clinician.

Attending regular outpatient appointments scheduled by the hospital can cause unnecessary anxiety – e.g. time taken to travel, park and wait for the appointment – if your condition is stable.

Sometimes, regular outpatient appointments may not result in any change to your treatment. In fact, your condition may flare up in between regular booked appointments and it’s during this time that you really do need our input.

Patient-Initiated Follow-Up will put you in control of making an appointment when you need it the most.

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

How does it work?

You will be advised by your clinical team if your condition is now suitable to have your follow-ups as patient-initiated instead of the regular appointments scheduled by the hospital.

Your clinician will have advised you about the process and given you an information leaflet in order for you to make an informed decision about your care going forwards.

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

Yes, our booking team are contactable should you require advice or guidance in relation to your condition.

What if I am worried and change my mind about this style of follow-up?

Just tell us and we will go back to booking regular hospital appointments for you to attend for your follow up review. Please discuss any concerns with a member of the team who will be happy to help.

When should I call for a PIFU?

You should call if you experience a flare-up of your symptoms and require an urgent appointment. You will be able to access one of our ‘SOS’ appointments and can be seen in clinic either face to face or virtually.

When not to use PIFU

If you require urgent medical advice you should contact your GP, NHS 111, your local Walk-in centre or, if you are really unwell, your local Emergency Department (A&E).

What happens if I don’t have a flare during my agreed PIFU pathway?

The team will discharge you to the care of your GP, however should you need to be re-referred to the service, your GP can facilitate this for you.

How do I arrange an appointment?

If you have a flare of your symptoms and need advice or an appointment, just follow the steps below and the team will help you.

4 Easy Steps:

  • Call your clinical admin team on the numbers below (between 8am and 6pm)

Ear, Nose and Throat – 01622 228218

Ophthalmology – 01622 228218

Trauma & Orthopaedics – 01622 228221

Neurology – 01622 228219

  • Explain to the team you would like make a follow-up appointment and that you are on the PIFU pathway.
  • Agree an appointment date and time.
  • Attend your clinic appointment.

In the event you need to leave a message when you call, please leave the following information:

  • Your full name and date of birth.
  • Your hospital number and/or NHS number.
  • A telephone number where we can call you during normal hours between 8am – 6pm.
  • Date of your last (specialty) appointment.

Click here to download the Patient-Initiated Follow-Up patient leaflet.

Further information and advice can be obtained from:

NHS England

NHS England » Patient Initiated Follow Up: Giving patients greater control over their hospital follow-up care

NHS 111

NHS Choices online;