By politics.co.uk staff
NHS hospitals will be made responsible for patients for 30 days after they are discharged, Andrew Lansley will announce later.
The health secretary will use his first major speech since entering the Department of Health (DoH) to unveil a change to the way hospitals deal with emergency patients.
Under the Labour government hospitals are paid for every emergency treatment. Mr Lansley will argue this has led to patients being discharged earlier than appropriate.
NHS hospitals will now only be paid for the first admission. Readmissions could lead to fines.
"The outcome for patients is the only outcome that matters," Mr Lansley will say.
"We are sending a clear message that patient care doesn't end when patients walk out of the hospital door."
The DoH said the number of emergency readmissions had increased by 52% in the last ten years, from over 350,000 to nearly 550,000.