NHS bosses are confident a new treatment centre in Inverness will help clear a backlog of patients facing longer waiting times due to the pandemic.
The new National Treatment Centre will be the place to go for all eye care services in the Highlands, including surgical and outpatient facilities.
It will also offer orthopaedic care for patients admitted for hip and knee replacements, foot, ankle and hand surgery.
What has been built so far?
New footage has now been released showing that construction work is in its final stages with roofing works now complete and the building now watertight.
Inside the fit-out is also progressing, with contractors Balfour Beatty now concentrating on the theatre areas.
The new facility shown in the drone footage below will have five operating theatres, 13 consultation rooms and 24 patient beds.
How long are waiting lists?
David Park, deputy chief executive of NHS Highland, said the health board was delighted with progress on the new Inverness treatment centre and explained that it would help reduce waiting lists.
The number of patients waiting for orthopaedic treatment in the Highlands almost doubled during the pandemic.
The most recent stats available show 2,447 patients were waiting for treatment in December last year compared to 1,302 patients during the same month in 2019.
And 2,010 patients had been waiting more than 12 weeks for their appointments.
‘It will be a fantastic building’
Mr Park said: “With the best technology, it really will be fantastic for the people of the Highlands and beyond and will greatly help us reduce waiting lists and tackle the backlog created by the challenging period of the pandemic.”
The building is due to be completed in September and is expected to open its doors to patients on December 13 this year.
A patient and staff cafe, children’s play area and serene garden courtyard will also be on site.