Scotland’s first digital hospital has moved a step closer to realising its vision for 21st century healthcare after ministers rubber-stamped local site plans for the state-of-the-art building.

The new University Hospital Monklands will be situated at a site in Wester Moffat, Airdrie, as part of ambitious plans to revolutionise healthcare across the NHS Lanarkshire region.

The health board recognises that there are still a number of stages of the Monklands Replacement Project (MRP) that need to be completed before construction of the hospital can begin, the next being the outline business case.

But Neena Mahal, chair of NHS Lanarkshire, said: “We are delighted that the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, has approved the recommendation by the Board of NHS Lanarkshire that Wester Moffat should be the home of the new Monklands.

 “The process of site selection for the MRP would not have been possible without the vital input we received from the public and our staff during our extensive stakeholder engagement process prior to the recommendation of a preferred site.

 “I would also like to acknowledge the hard work of the MRP team and my Board colleagues for their support and diligence.”

 University Hospital Monklands chief of medical services Dr Rory Mackenzie, who is a member of the MRP team, said: “This decision will be warmly welcomed by all my colleagues across the hospital.

 “It is a crucial step forward on the road to a new Monklands that will be essential in supporting the ideal model of care for our future healthcare challenges, including the rising elderly population.

 “We will use the latest technology to deliver Scotland’s first digital hospital and clinicians remain at the heart of the process, ensuring our new, ultra-modern

hospital is designed to tackle public health issues such as the current coronavirus pandemic.”

 MRP director Graeme Reid said: “We look forward to detailing the significant clinical and economic benefits that the construction of the new hospital will bring to the people of Lanarkshire in our outline business case later this year.

 “We will share our exciting plans in the coming months to ensure the public and our staff are fully aware of developments and can continue to provide input.”

Humber River Hospital, Toronto, and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, are two examples the Monklands Replacement Project team discussed as exemplar hospitals in exploring the opportunities of digital technology.