Dumfries hospital building contract down to three bidders
Three bidders have been invited to enter into the final stages of the process to secure a contract to build a new hospital in Dumfries.
Five companies had expressed an interest and Balfour Beatty, High Wood Health (Laing O'Rourke) and Skanska have now been selected.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief executive Jeff Ace said it was another "key stage" of the project's process.
Work on the £200m, 350-bed complex is expected to start in 2015.
The new building, on farmland at the western end of the Dumfries by-pass, will replace the current site on Bankend Road.
Mr Ace said: "The calibre of companies that have engaged with us at the bidding stage demonstrates the scale of this development.
"I've been extremely impressed with the quality of submissions and our project team will now face an extremely difficult task in selecting our eventual partner in the delivery of Scotland's latest and best acute hospital."
NHS Dumfries and Galloway chief operating officer Julie White said the scheme could provide a "tremendous boost" to the economy in the area.
She said the health board was keen to ensure the construction process made the most of "opportunities for promoting local employment and training initiatives".
Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "We welcome the achievement of this significant milestone towards delivering a new hospital to serve the people of Dumfries and Galloway.
"We look forward to the board receiving innovative proposals from the shortlisted bidders that will deliver a modern, high quality facility that fits our vision of providing health services at the heart of local communities."