Introduction The number of people in England who are potentially eligible for bariatric surgery according to criteria set out in UK national guidance is not known. We used data from Health Survey for England (HSE) 2006, representative of the non-institutionalised English population, to determine the number of people eligible for bariatric surgery and their socio-demographic characteristics.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) criteria for eligibility are those with body mass index (BMI) 3540 kg/m2 with at least one comorbidity that could be improved by losing weight, or a BMI > 40 kg/m2. The comorbidities examined were hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, and osteoarthritis.
Methods Of 13,742 adult respondents in HSE 2006, we excluded participants with invalid data for BMI (N = 2103), comorbidities (N = 2187) or socio-demographic variables (N = 27), for a final study sample of 9,425 participants.
Results 374 (4.0%) had BMI 3540 kg/m2 with at least one comorbid condition and 179 (1.9%) had BMI > 40 kg/m2. 5.9% of the general adult population therefore fulfilled criteria for bariatric surgery in England. Those eligible were more likely than the general population to be women (60.1% vs 39.9% P < 0.01), retired (22.4% vs 12.8% P < 0.01), and have no educational qualifications (35.7% vs 21.3% P < 0.01).
Conclusion The number of adults potentially eligible for bariatric surgery in England (2,346,542 people based on census data) far exceeds provision. Greater investment may be required to ensure the National Health Service (NHS) and other health services internationally have the capacity to meet the needs of all those eligible for bariatric surgery under national guidance. In doing so, monitoring of implementation is essential to ensure access based on need.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared.