A SYSTEM which allows patients with long-term conditions easier access to hospital appointments is running at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT).

Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU) puts patients in control of making an appointment when they need it and provides direct access to guidance when needed.

Basingstoke Gazette:

It was introduced to allow patients with stable, long-term conditions to book an appointment as required, rather than having regular appointments.

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PIFU runs at HHFT’s three sites – Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester.

Information provided by the trust on PIFU says: “The majority of patients with stable long-term conditions do not require regular follow up by the hospital team. Research has shown that regular visits do not help to prevent your conditions returning or identify new problems.

“Instead of being offered regular clinic visits and routine check-ups with your consultant, PIFU patients can make their own appointment only when they need it e.g. when you experience a flare-up of your condition – reducing the unnecessary anxiety, travel and time spent waiting for a routine follow-up.”

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Patients are advised whether their condition is suitable to have patient initiated follow-ups, with clinicians responsible for advising patients about the process and giving an information sheet about the process along with clear guidance on how to get in touch.

There is no limit to the number of times a patients can be put on a PIFU.

PIFU is part of the outpatients transformation requirements set out in the NHS 2022/23 Operational Planning Guidance and is a key part of the NHS’ response to the Covid-19 pandemic, helping providers and systems manage waiting lists and to see patients most in need more quickly.

Anyone requiring urgent medical advice should contact their GP, NHS 111, or visit the emergency department.

HHFT has been asked for a comment.