Patient-initiated follow-up appointments – a personalised approach to out-patient care

Changes to the way we deliver outpatient care in the North West are giving patients more control and choice about how and when they access care.

Almost 40,000 patients across the region are already taking part in the new way of working, known as ‘patient-initiated follow-up’ (PIFU), in which patients book their follow-up appointments when they need them, rather than at routine intervals.

The new, personalised approach to outpatient care is geared around patients with long term conditions, or following hospital treatment, who do not need regular follow-up appointments.

In agreement with their consultant, these patients can choose to request appointments only when they need them, for example if symptoms or their circumstances change, making it easier and more convenient for them to access specialist care.

PIFU helps specialities to manage their waiting lists and frees up clinicians’ capacity so that they have more time for the patients who need them most. The national ambition is to move 5% of outpatient attendances to PIFU pathways by March 2023.

Patients on a PIFU pathway are supported to manage their own conditions, working to a personalised care and support plan developed in partnership with their consultant.

In the North West, it is already being rolled out across a broad range of medical and surgical specialties, including trauma and orthopaedic, physiotherapy, ear nose and throat and paediatrics.