Health services across Scotland are to share almost £300m this year to spend on capital projects.

In total,£297m will be spent on the capital programme this financial year - up£59m (25 per cent) on last year.

This figure is set to rise to£302m in 2002-03 and£312m the following year. Subject to business plans being approved, the biggest winner is the Beatson cancer centre in Glasgow. Some£38m will be spent on the new phase of the centre at Gartnavel Hospital, which will treat more than 30,000 patients a year.

Other projects in line to go ahead include a£12.5m upgrade for Lochgilphead Hospital in Argyll,£6.6m for a new hospital in Stranraer,£9.6m for a community hospital in Forth Valley and£3.3m to double the capacity at St John's Hospital in West Lothian.

Grampian will get£3.2m for a new palliative care unit which will also create a network of services for Orkney and Shetland.

Managers welcomed the investment. Stephen Greep, chief executive for the Ayrshire & Arran Acute Hospitals trust, which will get a round-the-clock surgery unit as part of a£6.1m refurbishment, said: 'This is a marvellous boost for the hospital and great news for our patients.'