Patients who do not turn up for appointments with their GP could be fined under plans being drawn up to cut wastage in the National Health Service (NHS).
The plans are included in a Department of Health document entitled Delivering the NHS Plan.
The document was reportedly drawn up by Health Secretary Alan Milburn following the Budget which gave the NHS an extra £40bn over the next five years spelling out his determination to stop “unfair and inappropriate” use of NHS resources.
The right of patients to treatment when they needed it gave them an equal duty to use the health service responsibly, the document warned.
There could also be prosecutions for those who call ambulances without good cause and powers to allow doctors to refuse to treat unruly patients.