Blackpool Teaching Hospitals patients to benefit from new follow-up system

A new system is being trialed with outpatients at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals allowing them to have more control over when they have follow-up appointments.

The system is called Patient Initiated Follow-Ups (PIFU).

After a hospital appointment, it is often necessary to arrange a follow-up appointment for ongoing care.

Traditionally these appointment are offered at routine intervals but in some cases, patients might need a follow-up appointment sooner than their scheduled session – or they may agree that a follow-up is not required unless their symptoms flare up or their circumstances change.

PIFU helps the clinician and patient agree an appointment process which would work best for them.

It will be piloted by the Trust’s Rheumatology team in mid-September, then rolled out to the first agreed specialties – Orthopaedics, Ophthalmology, Pain Management and Paediatrics.

Mitch Barrot, Project Manager for Transformation Planning and Delivery at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, said: “We believe that this new approach will help to empower patients to manage their own condition and plays a key role in enabling shared decision making and supported self-management.

“We know that sometimes patients don’t need a follow-up appointment and this process will mean they are not taking time out of their day to attend hospital. For those patients that do require a follow-up, it will give them much more freedom over when this is required.”

Information about the PIFU process will be provided at the patient’s initial appointment and is then followed up with their Outpatient Outcome PIFU letter which will be sent to the patient and their GP. This provides the patient with full detail on how to initiate PIFU and what symptoms to look out for.

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