When you are referring patients directly, eg direct cataract referral, you may be asked which treatment centres are available to them.
It is usually in patients' best interest to be seen locally, however they do have the right to be seen outside of the area, and can choose to go to any hospital or clinic in England that offers NHS services for their first appointment, provided that that hospital or clinic offers the right treatment and care for their condition.
They also have the right to choose, subject to certain conditions (and any changes relating to Brexit), to receive treatment which is normally available to them on the NHS in other countries within the European Economic Area.
For more information about Patient Choice, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-nhs-choice-framework/the-nhs-choice-framework-what-choices-are-available-to-me-in-the-nhs
and/or download the document on the right.
Patients or professionals are able to search for an NHS provider on this website https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-services. Enter the town or postcode, and the required treatment, eg 'cataract surgery' (then choose 'cataract surgery treatment' from the next list), and it will list nearby NHS providers with their waiting times. If you wish to refer your patient to a hospital or clinic out of area, some of which may be private hospitals which hold an NHS contract, you are advised to contact the provider directly to determine its referral process.