Investment of £30 million has brought about substantial improvements in accident and emergency (A&E) care in Scotland, Health Secretary Alex Neil said.

But he stressed the NHS must build on this initial progress over the next two years as he said there was still work to be done on emergency care.

The money - £10 million from the Scottish Government and £20 million from local health boards - is the first slice of funding from the unscheduled care action plan.

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Since the plan was introduced there has been an 87 per cent reduction in the number of patients waiting more than 12 hours in hospital A&E units, the Government said.

Figures showed that 93.5 per cent of people in accident and emergency were treated within four hours in December last year - below the Government's interim target of 95 per cent but up from 90.3 per cent in December 2012.

In that month there were 323 cases in December where patients in A&E had to wait more than 12 hours.

Since then, health boards across Scotland have brought in new measures in a bid to improve unplanned care, including a special unit in NHS Forth Valley aimed at preventing frail elderly people from being admitted to hospital unnecessarily.