John Burns

Chief Operating Officer, NHS Scotland, Scottish Government

A man smiling, wearing a white shirt, blue tie and a black blazer

John has worked in NHS Scotland for 40 years, starting his career in Dundee working for the Dundee District and then moving to work in Ninewells Hospital. After 4 years in Dundee John took up the post of Deputy Sector Administrator at the Victoria Infirmary in 1987 which was the start of 14 years working in South Glasgow where he had a roles as Hospital Administrator at the Southern General Hospital and then Director of Patient Services, Contracts, Planning and Performance with the Southern General University Hospital NHS Trust and latterly the South Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust.

In 2001 John was appointed Chief Executive of the Dumfries and Galloway Acute and Maternity Services NHS Trust. In 2002 John was appointed Director of Health Services and Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Dumfries and Galloway taking up the post of Board Chief Executive in 2004. 2012 saw John appointed as Chief Executive for NHS Ayrshire and Arran until 2021 when he took up the post of Chief Operating Officer for NHS Scotland.

John was appointed West of Scotland lead in 2016, a role that he held until he moved to his current role. John has also participated in a range of national work throughout his career, including chair of the NHS Scotland Chief Executives Group, diagnostics, screening, shared services, waiting times, sustainability and value, occupational health and safety.