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General information leaflet regarding patient initiated follow-up appointments

Patient information A-Z

What is a patient initiated follow-up appointment?

Patient initiated follow-up puts the patient in control. You can make an appointment to see us if you need to.

Why have they been set up?

  • Research has shown that having a regular outpatient follow-up does not help prevent disease returning or identify any new problems, and many patients find that follow-up visits to the hospital cause a lot of anxiety.
  • Outpatient clinics are increasingly full and some patients travel very long distances to attend clinics as part of a specialist service.
  • In a recent survey, 25% of patients told NHS England that they didn’t feel their follow up appointment had been of value to them.
  • We have therefore set up Patient Initiated Follow Up appointments.
  • These are designed to be more convenient for you and save you time and travel.

How do these appointments work?

  • Instead of having a follow-up appointment booked at a specific time in the future, your doctor/nurse has ordered a Patient Initiated Follow Up appointment for you.
  • You will receive this in a letter sent to you by your clinical team.
  • The PIFU order has an expiry date (eg 3 months, 6 months or 12 months). If you would like to have a follow-up appointment within the timeframe set out in your PIFU appointment letter you will need to contact the hospital to book an appointment.

Will I always be followed-up in this manner?

  • Not necessarily. If we need to see you so that we can undertake a clinical examination we will ask you to come to the clinic.
  • In such instances we will arrange for you to attend a hospital outpatient appointment.

How do I get my Patient Initiated Follow-Up Appointment?

  • If you have a PIFU letter and would like to be seen by the specialty who sent it to you, you will need to contact clinic 7 or plastics secretary directly to book the appointment on the numbers below.

What if I don’t want a follow-up appointment?

  • You do not have to have a follow-up appointment. If you would prefer not to have an appointment you do not need to do anything.
  • If you do not contact us to book the PIFU, the order will simply expire.
  • We will not contact you to book the PIFU appointment (it has to be activated by you).

How do I know if I need a follow-up appointment or not?

Your consultant will have decided you are suitable to have an open appointment for a set time frame. This is entirely your choice to organise a booking for follow-up appointment if you continue to have any concerns or feel this is necessary

Useful contact details

Plastic surgery secretary: 01223 274632

01223 256080

For Follow up appointments: Outpatient Call Handling Team: 01223 806000

For New appointments: Contact Centre:01223 245151

Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

PALS is here to provide help, advice, support and information and to listen to your suggestions and concerns.

If you, your relatives or your carers are unhappy with any aspect of your care, or the service you receive while you are attending an outpatient clinic or via the telephone clinic, you or they should speak to a member of the clinic staff as soon as possible. If you feel unable to speak directly to staff, then contact PALS on 01223 216756 or email them at who will be able to assist you.

You can ask a friend or relative to speak to us on your behalf, but we must have your permission before we can discuss your personal circumstances with anyone else. Very often problems can be resolved straightaway, so please contact us as soon as possible so you can be reassured about any aspect of your care.

The PALS office is open Monday to Friday 9:00 to 17:00 (with extended hours when staffing permits).

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151