Chief Operating Officer of NHS Scotland

John Burns



Chief Operating Officer of NHS Scotland
The Scottish Government
St. Andrew's House
Regent Road


John Burns has been Chief Operating Officer for NHS Scotland since July 2021.


The Chief Operating Officer oversees the Directorate for Health Performance and Delivery, which is primarily responsible for:

  • unscheduled and elective care
  • NHS resilience and emergency planning
  • pandemic flu planning
  • NHS winter planning

He works with chairs and chief executives of NHS boards to monitor NHS performance against key targets, providing support to them through sponsorship of territorial health boards and the Golden Jubilee Foundation.


Prior to this he was the Chief Executive of NHS Ayrshire and Arran for nine years.

He has worked in several roles across NHS Scotland over the last 38 years, working in Tayside, Glasgow, Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire and Arran. The last 20 years have all been in chief executive roles.

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