Procurement will start on a £200m acute hospital in Dumfries and Galloway after government gave plans the go ahead.
The trust said the Scottish government’s capital investment group has approved the outline business case for the hospital.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s chief operating officer Julie White said it means they can now proceed to the open market to start the procurement process.
“We will now engage with external companies who will work with us to complete the detailed design, build the hospital and finance the construction,” she said.
Ms White said the project has had a lot of interest from a range of multi-national companies.
The procurement process will take “a number of months”, with work expected to start on site in the spring of 2015, with the new hospital being open to patients in the first half of 2018.
She added: “This project represents a significant boost to our local economy and we will work with the preferred bidder to ensure involvement of local small and medium sized businesses, and to develop local apprenticeships.”
Health secretary Alex Neil said :”Giving the go-ahead for development of this new hospital clearly sets out the strength of our commitment to the NHS in Scotland, and will mean that we can provide more sustainable, high quality and continually improving health care services in NHS Dumfries and Galloway and across the country.”