Under a new scheme hospitals will have 'no excuse not to provide the latest Nice-approved drugs and treatments'
Hospitals that delay acting on guidance from the health watchdog will be forced to explain hold-ups to patients.
The new rules, brought in to tackle the postcode lottery on available treatments, will allow the public to see "scorecards" comparing the speed at which NHS hospitals roll out innovative care methods and medicines.
Currently some Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) delay offering new drugs as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice), while other areas use them on patients straight away.
Under the scheme, which is expected to be rolled out before autumn, hospitals will have "no excuse not to provide the latest Nice-approved drugs and treatments", the Department of Health said.
NHS organisations will be automatically added to publicly available lists of what drugs are available in local areas.
It is hoped the rules will create a level playing field for treatments such as IVF, for which patients living in different regions have had varying levels of opportunity for the treatment.
Last year a report found more than 70% of NHS trusts were ignoring Nice guidance to offer infertile couples three chances at IVF, and some stopped funding treatment altogether.
The study, from a cross-party group of MPs, found PCTs placed strict restrictions on who is eligible for IVF. Most PCTs put limits on the age at which they will treat women - but one PCT was only allowing women to be treated between the ages of 39 and 40. This means younger women can wait years for NHS treatment despite the fact fertility declines with age.
Some of Nice's most recent guidance, recommending an extended time to administer a clot-busting drug to treat stroke patients, for example, will soon have to be taken on by all hospitals.
Health Minister Paul Burstow said: "Patients have a right to drugs and treatments that have been approved by Nice. This new regime will be a catalyst for change - we are determined to eradicate variation and drive up standards for everyone. NHS organisations must make sure the latest Nice-approved treatments are available in their area, and if they are not, then they will now be responsible for explaining why not. Being transparent with data like this is the hallmark of a 21st-Century NHS. It is a fundamental tool to help healthcare professionals improve patient care."