Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU) appointments

Some patients are given routine follow up appointments. However, for some of our clinics, we are now enabling patients to decide if and when they need another appointment. This section only applies to patients who have been given a Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU) plan.


What is Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU)?

Following your recent consultation or treatment, instead of giving you a routine follow-up appointment, your clinician has put you in control by putting you on a Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU) plan.

PIFU means that you can make an appointment to see your consultant or healthcare team when you need it the most. This would be for example if the symptoms relating to your condition get worse or if you feel that you are not recovering well.

This is a new system that replaces making routine follow-up appointments. Evidence shows that attending regular outpatient appointments arranged by the hospital does not prevent your condition or symptoms from returning or make your recovery period shorter. In fact, many people find that routine follow up visits to the hospital cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Sometimes an appointment is not needed at all or doesn’t come at a time when you are experiencing symptoms. PIFU plans avoid you having regular review appointments when you do not want or need them.

You or your carer can make an appointment to see us if you have any concerns related to your specific condition or symptoms within the agreed time period for your PIFU plan. You can contact us and we will arrange for an appointment to be made when you need one. This appointment may be on the phone, a video call or face to face if the clinician needs to see you in person.


How does PIFU work?

Your healthcare team will tell you if PIFU is right for you. Your consultant or nurse will discuss with you the symptoms that mean a review appointment should be made. These symptoms are written in your PERSONAL PIFU PLAN on the first page and/or written in a letter from your consultant.

Your PIFU plan will be active for a period of between 12 months and 24 months. The period needed will be discussed with you and is written on your plan.


How do I book a PIFU appointment?

Booking an appointment is quick and easy. Just phone or email the Outpatient Call Centre team and say you need a PIFU appointment and let them know the specialty (eg cardiology, rheumatology etc). The number to call is also on your plan.

Phone: 020 8333 3216



Our Outpatient Call Centre is open between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday. They will agree a time and date with you for your PIFU appointment. Your review appointment may be on the phone, a video call or face to face if the clinician needs to see you in person.


Physiotherapy PIFU appointments

If your PIFU appointment is with our physiotherapy teams, please contact the physiotherapy call centre instead:

Phone: 020 8836 6060 (8am–4pm, Monday to Friday)

QEH email:

UHL email:


When you should not contact us for a PIFU appointment

Please do not ask for a PIFU appointment if:

  • Your health concern is about a different condition or symptoms to those specified on your plan. PIFU review appointments are only for the condition specified
  • It is after your PIFU plan has expired. Please see your GP who will decide if a new referral is needed
  • You need urgent medical advice. Instead you should contact your GP or NHS 111. With a PIFU plan you will not be able to speak to a medical professional straight away, as you will need to wait for your PIFU appointment.


Your PIFU appointment

Your follow-up appointment is important. If something happens that means that you cannot attend your appointment, please tell us as soon as you know on the number above, so that we can try to offer the appointment slot to someone else.

If you do not attend an appointment this may lead to you being referred back to your GP and needing a completely new referral to see our hospital specialists.