Centralisation of hospital services should be seen as a last resort, the Scottish National Party has claimed.
The SNP says A&E units should be retained in local hospitals
The SNP has drafted a submission to the group brought together to oversee reforms within the NHS in Scotland.
The party said maternity services and 24-hour accident and emergency cover should be retained locally.
An SNP government would force health boards to prove that any centralisation proposal was a last resort and subject the plan to independent scrutiny.
A group led by Professor David Kerr has been asked to look at the future shape of acute services in Scotland.
The SNP submission said there was a lack of strategic direction for the NHS in Scotland, with health boards being left to their own devices.
It said that there had been "a Scotland-wide drive towards the centralisation agenda".
The SNP's recommendations included directly-elected health boards, reform of the working time directive and closer working between smaller hospitals and big teaching hospitals.