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Hospital contact numbers

Patient Initiated Follow-Up (PIFU)

We’re changing the way we deliver outpatient care to better suit you. 

We’re putting you in control and giving you more choice over how and when you access your care so it’s easier and more convenient to receive specialist care in a way that better suits your lifestyle and preferences. 

Many patients with long term conditions, or following treatment, do not always need follow-up appointments at routine intervals. 

Instead, some patients will be offered 'patient-initiated follow-up' appointments (PIFU for short). This is where you can arrange a follow-up appointment as and when you need it, for instance when your symptoms flare up or if your circumstances change. 

This means you avoid unnecessary appointments, saving you time, money and stress and enables better access to follow-up care when you do need it. 

If PIFU is available and suitable for you, the healthcare professional responsible for your care will discuss this option, and if you are happy, they will ask you to arrange your appointments in this way in future – this is called Shared Decision Making. 

If you think PIFU might work for you, ask about it at your next appointment with us. 

For more information about PIFU please visit NHS England - Patient initiated follow-up.

For more information on Shared Decision Making please visit NHS England - Shared decision making.

How it works

Your healthcare professional will discuss with you the symptoms to look out for that would mean you should make an appointment and how to contact the service if you need to. You will get the chance to discuss any concerns you might have. Depending on your condition, this might replace your routine follow-ups that you might have had in the past. 

You will also be told whether your PIFU has an end date. If you think you need to be seen again after that date, you will need a new referral.  

How do I book an appointment? 

It is quick and easy to book an appointment when you need one. To do so, you should contact us using the contact details provided to you by the healthcare professional responsible for your care. 

If you have lost these details, do not worry, you can telephone us on 01539 716998, Monday to Friday, 8:00am - 6:00pm and a member of the team will assist you. 

To arrange a PIFU appointment you must: 

• Have agreed with the healthcare professional responsible for your care that PIFU is appropriate for you and have been given the relevant information confirming you are on the PIFU pathway 

• Contact us within the timeframe advised by your healthcare professional. 

This section is still under development 

Hospital phone number

  • PIFU: Rheumatology
  • Dermatology 
  • Diabetes
  • Endocrinology/Lipids 
  • Gastro/IBD
  • General Surgery 
  • Ophthalmology 
  • Urology 

This section is still under development 

Community phone number

  • Service 1 (hyperlink)
  • Service 2 (hyperlink)
  • Service 3 (hyperlink)

Ask 3 Questions

‘Ask 3 Questions’ is a campaign from the Health Foundation (www.health.org.uk/) which aims to help patients become more involved in their treatment and care.

Working together with your healthcare professional to decide on the best course of action and support should help you make more informed decisions about your health, and help you feel in control of your care.

The key message for patients is to always ‘ask 3 questions’ when discussing your treatment.


  • What are my options?
  • What are the possible benefits and risks of those options?
  • What help do I need to make my decision?


Often, you will find there are choices to make about your healthcare. 

For example you may need to:

  • decide whether or not you want to have treatment
  • choose between different types of treatment
  • plan to change your lifestyle to improve your health
  • what you choose to do should depend on what is important to you.

If you are asked to make a choice, you may have further questions that you want to ask. Talking over your options with your family or friends, and writing a list of the questions to take to your appointment may help.

Using the 3 Questions, and being more active in your care can make your treatment more satisfying and effective.

The ‘Ask 3 Questions’ campaign is about helping you feel in control of your care and is a part of our wider approach to self-care.

You can read more about the Ask 3 Questions campaign at Shared Decision Making – Ask 3 Questions - Aqua. There is also a video you can watch to explain more about Ask 3 Questions on Youtube.