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Patient initiated follow-up appointments - Dermatology

Patient information A-Z

What is a patient initiated follow up (PIFU) appointment?

PIFU 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.

How do I get my PIFU 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 the hospital to book the appointment.
  • You will be offered an appointment when one is next available.

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).

Useful contact details

  • For follow-up appointments: outpatient call handling team: 01223 274900.
  • For new appointments: Contact centre: 01223 245151

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.

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