Health Secretary Shona Robison has confirmed that a major trauma centre in Aberdeen should be up and running this autumn.
Ministers had initially promised that the network between Scotland’s four biggest cities, which would cost an initial £30million and treat an estimated 6,000 patients a year, would be operational by the end of 2016.
But, despite pre-election pledges from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the target was not met.
The centres would deal with the most serious injuries, such as those sustained in car crashes.
North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald has repeatedly pressed the Scottish Government for assurances over the timescale of the project, and has now received a letter from Ms Robison confirming the next stage.
Mr Macdonald, who is convener of the health and sport committee at the Scottish Parliament, said: “This is a welcome clarification from the health minister on the timetable for implementing the new major trauma centre at Foresterhill.
“I have been pushing the Scottish Government to make a firm commitment regarding an exact date for the Aberdeen major trauma centre becoming operational, rather than just some time in 2018 as was promised a few weeks ago.
“NHS Grampian, doctors and other staff at Foresterhill can now continue their preparations for the implementation of major trauma services in Aberdeen, knowing that trauma patients from across the north and north-east of Scotland will benefit from new tools and procedures before the end of the year.”
The new centres in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow will host dedicated trauma services, including rehabilitation support, to help patients with significant injuries recover more quickly.
The Scottish Ambulance Service and existing trauma services across Scotland will also play a role in delivering enhanced trauma care.
These services will create the Scottish Trauma Network. The north-east centre will be based at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.