A £50million plan to speed up emergency treatment in Scotland's hospitals has been unveiled in Glasgow.

Several initiatives will be run in hospitals across the country, including more doctors specialising in accident and emergency treatments and greater flexibility in working patterns to ensure staff are working when needed most.

The plan will also increase the number of allied health professionals, such as physiotherapists and occupational therapists, to deal with people outwith the A&E setting to allow emergencies to be prioritised better.

Scottish Health Secretary Alex Neil was at Glasgow Royal Infirmary to announce the programme, which is to be implemented over the next three years.

Mr Neil said the plans would:

l Change the way people are seen when they are admitted to hospital to make sure they are treated as fast as possible.

l Look at how staff work so people can leave hospital as soon as they are ready.

l Improve links with other areas of health care so support is in place for people to be treated in the community if possible.

Admissions to accident and emergency departments across Scotland have increased 7% in the last five years, and is projected to rise by the same again by the end of this decade.

Mr Neil said: "We are seeing more people than ever before coming to hospital as emergency admissions due to the ageing population.

"We also know the majority of people who go to A&E do not need to be there and could get more appropriate treatment somewhere else, such as a minor injuries clinic.

"That is why we have looked at the whole system and developed this plan to improve how quickly people are seen in our hospitals, who treats them, and how quickly we can get them back on their feet at home."

The initiative has the support of doctors' leaders, who also want to improve how patients move through the system from admission to discharge and beyond.

Dr Jason Long, chairman of the College of Emergency Medicine Scotland, said: "This is an important initiative that will improve emergency medicine across Scotland."

Mr Ian Ritchie, President Royal College Of Surgeons Of Edinburgh, said: "I am particularly pleased to see the emphasis is not just on the front door, but also on what happens to patients once their emergency condition has been dealt with, and is moving on to what happens to them in the community."