Accident and emergency departments were busiest in London last year, the latest figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show.
London's strategic health authority (SHA) had 312 A&E attendances per 1,000 of the population in 2012/13, a total of 2.6 million attendances. North West SHA had the second highest level of A&E attendance, at 307 per 1,000 of the population and 2.2 million attendances.
The lowest rates of attendance at major A&E departments were in South Central SHA (189 per 1,000 of the population or 790,200 attendances) and South West SHA (210 per 1,000 of the population or 1.1 million attendances).
GP referrals accounted for 5.8% of attendances at major A&E departments overall (825,400). Regionally the highest percentage of GP referrals was for patients resident in the South West SHA (8.4% or 94,000), while the lowest was for patients resident in the North West SHA (4.4% or 96,400).
There were 18.3 million attendances at A&E departments recorded in Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data between April 2012 and March 2013, a 4% increase on attendances in 2011-12 (17.6 million).
HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: “The scale of the variation in A&E attendances reported in this publication is striking. Policy makers and system managers will want to look at the implications of this analysis for the future management and disposition of A&E services.”