THE Scottish Gover-nment has given the green light for a new multi-million health centre in East Renfrewshire.

The proposed Eastwood Health and Care Centre will replace Clarkston Clinic and serve thousands of people across Eastwood.

The new building will be on the site of the former Isobel Mair School in Drumby Crescent, Clarkston. It is expected it will be open by 2015.

At least four, and possibly five, existing GP surgeries will be moved into the new building though health chiefs have not revealed which practices will be affected.

East Renfrewshire Council has pledged £8.4million from its general capital fund to pay for part of the project.

A further £9m is to come from the Scottish Government Capital Investment Group through the so-called 'Hub funding initiative,' a public-private finance deal set up by Government to boost the amount of money available for new public building projects.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "Having the right facilities, in the right place is important to people across Scotland and that is why we are determined to ensure both staff and patients the length and breadth of the country can work and be treated in the best possible surroundings."

The next step for the bosses behind the Eastwood health centre project will be to submit an outline business case.

The new building will provide a number of health and social care services under one roof, so patients will no longer need to travel between sites for healthcare provision.

Planning permission for the Drumby Road site is being sought.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, chairman of the East Renfrewshire Community Health Care Partnership committee, said: "This significant investment recognises that our integrated CHCP model works."

Robert Calderwood, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde chief executive, said: "We are delighted that we can continue our modernisation of local healthcare facilities and this is another example of partnership working to improve local amenities."