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
Most parts of the country will experience near unbroken sunshine after a chilly start to the day.
As the investigation into Khalid Masood continues, former acquaintances tell of violent incidents in the murderer's past.
Local authorities say the current system of Traffic Regulation Orders are time-consuming, expensive and bureaucratic.