The six-month operational standard came into effect across the national health service from 1 January 2006. No patient should have to be waiting longer than this for in-patient treatment from the decision-to-treat date.
Latest data for the end of August 2006 show that 115 patients, less than 0.02 per cent. of a total waiting list of 769,461, were waiting over six months. This compares with 1997 when almost 300,000 people were waiting more than 15 months for their operations.