Hospitals could face multi-million pound fines for poor weekend care in a £2 billion plan by NHS England's medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh.
The professor told The Sunday Times (£) that the obligation to run a full health service seven days a week will be included in hospital trusts’ contractual agreements.
Breaches of that agreement could lead to them "losing up to 2.5% of their income - a penalty of millions on budgets that can be more than £500 million," the paper reported.
Sir Keogh is set to announce his recommendations today, following a year-long inquiry into NHS care to address the apparent drop in in quality on Saturdays and Sundays.
More top news
ITV News spent the day at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading looking at the lengths it is going to prepare for the winter ahead.
Endris Mohammed must serve a minimum of 33 years after killing his two children with a petrol-soaked cloth before trying to kill his wife.
Three people who had been arrested on suspicion of murder have been released without any further action.