First Minister Alex Salmond has marked the completion of structural works on the £300m Forth Valley Acute Hospital at a topping out ceremony.
The 860-bed facility at Larbert is the largest building project currently underway in Scotland.
The first patients are due to begin receiving treatment there in 2010.
The hospital is being built as part of a public private partnership scheme to replace services at Falkirk and Stirling Royal Infirmaries.
The laying of the top slab of the building represents the completion of the 'concrete works' and structural stage of the project.
NHS Forth Valley have applied for Royal status for the facility, in the hope that it will be called The Royal Forth Valley Hospital.
The new building will house A&E services, a maternity unit, intensive care, children's services, cancer day care, psychiatric and mental health wards, outpatient therapies, and a dedicated women's outpatient department.
Mr Salmond said: "Not only does this new building promise vast benefits for patients and NHS staff, it has also been a welcome boost to Scotland's economy.
"This is the largest construction project in the country and it has delivered real benefits in terms of jobs and investment in the central belt."
The building project has reached week 98 of a 207-week schedule. The hospital is expected to be fully operational by late 2011 and will employ about 3,500 staff.