The ‘Patient Initiated Follow-Up Service’ (PIFU) was introduced as a pilot by the Trust in February 2017 in rheumatology and 1,534 patients under different specialities have transferred onto this new system since the launch.
Rather than waiting for an appointment for weeks or months as was the norm, rheumatology and respiratory patients can now expect to speak to a clinician within three days after calling the service. This has been a real benefit to patients reducing anxiety and unnecessary visits to hospital.
The service is specifically designed for patients with stable long-term conditions to allow them to directly access clinical teams as and when they have a flare-up of their condition.
The new way of working has also had real benefits for staff and has released clinical teams to see new and more complex patients in a timely manner.
The service is being rolled out in gynaecology and paediatrics.
Dr David Walker, Medical Director, UHMBT, said: “Research has shown that having a regular outpatient follow-up does not necessarily help prevent patients’ conditions returning or identify new problems. In fact, many people find the follow up visits to the hospital cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety.”
Cliff Elley, GP Executive Lead, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “PIFU puts patients in control of their own health care with an appropriate support structure to access specialist review as and when required according to the PIFU clinical criteria.”
Patients can gain access to the new service if they need additional support to manage their condition from 8am-8pm Monday to Friday and they will be contacted with appropriate advice.
To ensure that patients find the service beneficial, feedback will be gathered regularly.
Patient feedback so far has included: “I think this is a great idea. It should free up time with the consultants, so that people who really need to see them can do so quicker.”
The new service has been developed as part of the Better Care Together strategy. Better Care Together is the clinically led strategy for ensuring health and care services across Morecambe Bay can remain safe, are of a consistently high standard, and can be financially sustained not just for the next five years, but well into the future.