N.B. Please be aware that from 18/10/2021 the prescriptions telephone number is 01926 963907 (line open 09:30 to 16:30, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays).
What is Patient Initiated Follow Up (PIFU)?
Patient Initiated Follow Up is part of a national plan for specially selected patients with inflammatory arthritis such as Rheumatoid (RA), Psoriatic (PsA) or Axial Spondyloarthritis (AS/Ax-SpA) that have had stable disease and are on established medications prescribed by the rheumatology team at the hospital.
Patient Initiated Follow Up describes when a patient (or their carer) can initiate their follow-up appointments as and when required, e.g. when symptoms or circumstances change. As well as giving patients timely access to support, this avoids unnecessary routine ‘check in’ appointments when your Inflammatory Arthritis is stable and your blood monitoring is entirely satisfactory.
Patient Initiated Follow Up makes it easier and more convenient for you to receive care and support when you need it, while avoiding unnecessary trips to hospitals and clinics, saving you time, money and stress. It helps empower you to manage your own condition and plays a key role in enabling shared decision-making and supported self-management in line with your personal set of circumstances, for example living abroad for part of the year or in another part of the UK.
When should I get in contact between appointments?
This is not an Emergency Service (e.g. medical emergency, other non-rheumatology problems)
But, it is for you to use if you are worried about any of the following problems:
- If you have a ‘flare-up’ of your symptoms and these have not responded to your usual self-help treatments and you feel that you need further advice.
- If you are experiencing side effects that you think may be caused by the medication prescribed for your arthritis.
- If you experience an adverse reaction to a treatment given at the rheumatology clinic.
- If you have been asked by one of the rheumatology team to report on your progress.
- If you have any urgent worries or concerns about your inflammatory arthritis that cannot wait until your next appointment.
How do I make contact?
Please call the advice line on 01926 963023 (line is open 06:00 to 12:00 noon, please leave a message and a nurse will call you back within one working day).
What happens if I am feeling well?
You will simply have an annual review with an appropriate clinician.
What can I expect from Patient Initiated Follow Up?
- An annual review with a clinically-trained member of the rheumatology team.
- A telephone call-back by the end of the next working day in a flare of your Inflammatory Arthritis.
- Quality of care – there will be Patient Initiated Follow Up clinic slots available each week if you need to see someone and your query cannot be dealt with over the telephone.
- Communication with your General Practitioner when we make any changes to your treatment plan.
- Remember, you can ‘opt-out’ at any time from Patient Initiated Follow-Up.
What do we need from you?
Regular blood tests as directed in clinic for your particular set of treatments.
Attendance at your annual review appointment (this will usually be alternating with your Consultant Rheumatologist and Senior Nurse Specialist).
Tell us when you are having a flare of your Inflammatory Arthritis once you have followed the self-management guidance that has been provided in clinic or viewed online.
What about my quality of care?
Your quality of care is important to us. We pride ourselves on our ‘Outstanding’ rating by the Care Quality Commission and we strive to retain it. Patient Initiated Follow Up is here to ensure that your care is more tailored and bespoke to you but within a framework that still meets the standards of care set out by the British Society for Rheumatology (BSR) and Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) for your Inflammatory Arthritis.
Changing Rheumatology Outpatient Appointments
Please telephone – 01926 600 036
Changing Rheumatology Day Case Treatment Appointments
Please telephone – 01926 495 321 ext 4922
Contacting other departments
Please telephone the hospital main switchboard on 01926 495 321 and then ask for the relevant department.
To find out more about Patient Initiated Follow-Up, there are two videos that you can access here. You will need to enter the password video2021 to access this page. The videos sit alongside a number of others and it is the sixth and seventh videos that talk about PIFU specifically.