A campaign has been launched urging the next First Minister to build a replacement for Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.
Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain argues the current building is no longer fit for purpose.
Between new specialties opening up and others being expanded, he says services are being “squeezed into a box that’s not big enough.”
The Scottish Conservative member is now urging the SNP’s three leadership candidates to back his proposals.
It comes as a new National Treatment Centre for the region (NTC-H) is due to open its doors in the coming months.
The £42 million site will specialise in eye care and orthopaedics, including the likes of knee and hip replacements.
Mr Mountain hopes his campaign, launching today, can capitalise on that momentum.
‘Raigmore wasn’t designed for the needs it must meet today’
“I campaigned for and welcomed the construction of the National Treatment Centre – Highland, but the modernising of the Highland’s health facilities can’t stop there,” he said.
“Indeed, the current Raigmore Hospital was not originally designed for all the healthcare needs it must meet today.
“While we’ve seen upgrades to the operating theatres in recent years and proposals to update the maternity unit, there comes a time when renovating an ageing building, which is no longer fit for purpose, is the wrong answer.”
Mr Mountain wants a newbuild hospital, designed from the ground up, to meet the “21st Century needs” of Highlanders.
And, due to the extensive process health bosses would have to follow, he says work should begin as soon as possible.
Difficulties with construction materials last year pushed back the opening of the NTC-H.
And just this week, NHS Grampian announced delays to its new £245 million Baird and Anchor hospitals in Aberdeen.
“It might take 10 years but if we don’t start it now, we’ll never get it built,” he added.
“We’ve got to find the site, get planning permission and design what we want, and then there are the contracts and we have to build it and move everyone over.