Work has started on a multi-million pound cancer centre in Glasgow.
The new West of Scotland Cancer Centre should open in 2007
Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm cut the first turf for the £87m West of Scotland Cancer Centre.
The finished building will stand next to Gartnavel General Hospital replacing the Beatson Oncology Centre and is due to be completed by 2007.
The centre will provide 173 inpatient and 45 day treatment beds serving 2.8m people in the region, equivalent to 60% of the Scottish population.
Mr Chisholm said: "The new centre at Gartnavel will be the single biggest publicly funded hospital facility in the NHS in Scotland.
"The advances that have already been made at the Beatson, combined with modern facilities and equipment, mean it will be better equipped than ever before to tackle the burden of cancer in the West of Scotland.
"The new centre will mean improved patient services, with less travelling between sites, for example for radiotherapy arrangement and treatment.
"For staff, it will encourage the further development of multi-disciplinary teams, including GPs, nurses and pharmacists and be a major boost to the recruitment and retention of staff."
The centre will be built by Edinburgh-based Miller Construction and will come under the control of the Greater Glasgow NHS Board.
Once finished, the five-floor building will include patient and family information services, a pharmacy, state of the art scanning equipment, a clinical trial and research space and a teaching facility.
The site's existing Tom Wheldon building will eventually be used for outpatient radiotherapy.
It will also include a dedicated teenage unit, funded by and run in partnership with the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm broke the turf
The medical director of the current Beatson Oncology Centre, Professor Alan Rodger, said: "Over the next couple of years we will create the best-equipped cancer centre in the country with all the facilities to support both the patients and the professionals looking after them.
"The project team at the Beatson have been working hard for a long time to drive this eagerly awaited project forward.
"The state of the art regional cancer centre will help provide world class cancer services for the people of the west of Scotland and it is no less than they deserve."