New NHS Digital report shows bariatric surgery figures for the past five years

Bariatric surgical procedures, 2021/22 (provisional) – National Obesity Audit [Management Information]1 is a new quarterly publication covering data for the past five financial years, from 2017-18.

It includes information about the number of people having bariatric surgery each year in England2, showing figures for primary procedures, revision procedures and gastric balloons and bubbles (temporary procedures)3. Primary procedures are further broken down by type of surgery.

The data, which is available in an interactive dashboard, is also broken down by demographics, such as age, gender and ethnicity. In addition, geographical data down to provider and CCG level is included.

Figures on bariatric surgery were previously included in NHS Digital’s annual Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet publication, which was paused while a consultation took place on the content and schedule of the four publications in NHS Digital’s Lifestyles compendia series. The consultation outcomes paper, which has also been published today, recommends that these are combined into one compendium publication4.

The methodology used in today’s publication to identify bariatric surgery has been amended and developed based on advice from expert clinicians. Figures are lower than the numbers in the Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet reports for several reasons, including because today’s publication shows a count of people rather than procedures5.

The methodology continues to be refined through engagement with more users6.


  1. This publication uses statistics from the Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) dataset. HES data for 2021-22 is still provisional and should therefore be treated as an estimate. When the final HES National Statistics 2021-22 annual publication is released later this year, we will update the data in this publication.
  2. HES data continued to be submitted by providers throughout the pandemic. Disruption relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) would seem to have affected the quality and coverage of some of our statistics, such as an increase in non-submissions for some datasets. We have also seen some different patterns in the submitted data. For example, fewer patients are being admitted to and discharged from hospital. Therefore, data should be interpreted with care over the COVID-19 period. Further information on how elective care, including surgery, will recover from the impact of coronavirus is published by NHS England.
  3. The number of people having a primary, revision or gastric balloons and bubbles procedure are those admitted to hospital with a primary diagnosis of obesity based on the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD10 code E66), For a primary procedure it is for those who have had at least one instance of a primary bariatric surgical procedure based on the Office for Population, Censuses and Surveys: Classification of Intervention and Procedures, 4th Revision (OPCS4) codes (G281, G282, G283, G284, G285, G301, G302, G303, G304, G312, G321, G331, G716). For a gastric balloon and bubble procedure it is for those who have had at least one instance of bariatric implant or balloon procedure (OPCS codes G481, G485). For a revision procedure it is for those who have had at least one instance of a revision bariatric procedure, by evidence of a non primary bariatric procedure code (OPCS revision codes G305, G315, G316, G322, G323, G324, G325, G332, G387, G717) or by evidence of previous bariatric procedure in the preceding 10 financial years.
  4. The outcome of the consultation on the Lifestyles compendia reports has also been published today.
  5. Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet (SOPAD) counts the number of procedures and admissions for bariatric surgery, groups reporting on primary and revision procedures, excludes gastric balloons and bubbles and uses a wider range of different procedure codes. Therefore the figures in that report are higher than the counts of people provided in today’s publication.
  6. As this dashboard and statistics develop, we will work with stakeholders and users to consider whether they continue to be published separately from SOPAD or realign back into SOPAD, a National Statistic, as part of the combined Lifestyles compendia publication.
  7. The National Obesity Audit publication is expected to be updated every quarter and will cover more data on obesity and weight management from other data sources over time.