THE Ayrshire and Arran branch of the NHS has appointed Claire Burden as chief executive of the organisation.

Ms Burden is currently deputy chief executive officer at Whipps Cross Hospital London and will take over from Professor Hazel Borland, the NHS's interim chief executive, in January 2022.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said: “I am pleased to welcome Claire Burden as the new chief executive of Ayrshire and Arran NHS board and I am confident she will bring a wealth of experience to this important role.

“With considerable expertise working in the reform of health and social care provision in NHS England for 17 years I know Claire will be well placed to lead the board as they move forward.”

Speaking about the new role, Ms Burden said: “I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to join NHS Ayrshire and Arran as chief executive.

"I will join the organisation in January 2022, which will come all too swiftly when I reflect that at some stage in these next 10 weeks I will have relocated from London to Ayrshire. 

“I can assure you that while I am working hard to prepare everything for a handover to my successor here in London, I will be committed to engaging with the board and our strategic partners on the current challenges and opportunities, as we respond to Covid and winter pressures across our integrated health and care system. 

“While I will be new to NHS Scotland, I will learn quickly and will deliver on my ambition and commitment to be an asset to NHS Ayrshire and Arran, and I thank you for the opportunity to be the new chief executive.”

Ms Burden has more than 17 years of management experience in NHS England, as well as a commitment to influence and lead the reform of health and social care provision for the benefit of the population.

Lesley Bowie, chair of Ayrshire and Arran NHS board, said: “I am delighted Claire has been successful in securing this post. Claire brings a wealth of skills and quality improvement experience, as well as a focus on transformation, which will drive NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s strategic ambition to reform health and care, ensuring we improve health outcomes and achieve the healthiest life possible for our citizens."

Ms Burden began her career as a practicing paramedic with the East Anglian Ambulance Service. She took up her first operational management post as associate director for Unscheduled Care with Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust, having gained experience in procuring the Digital Network for NHS Direct for London and Anglia.

Ms Burden quickly developed a desire and motivation to reform unscheduled care and has developed skills and experience in managing all aspects of unscheduled and scheduled care including the integration of care across acute and community.

She established an interest in service redesign and performance improvement and has held director roles in productivity and reform at Kingston NHS Hospital (2012). and latterly the post of deputy chief operating officer at Birmingham Children’s Hospital (2012- 2015).

Ms Burden led the transformation programme for the redesign of emergency medicine, inclusive of radiology and diagnostic services, as well as being an operational sponsor for new hospital builds to extend services at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

After joining NHS London in 2015, Ms Burden worked across London hospitals as hospital director at the Royal London Hospital delivering performance and governance outcomes, as well as leading a multi-agency programme aimed at supporting care delivered at home or close home.

More recently, Ms Burden was Director for Emergency Care Improvement at Barts NHS Trust, where she led a quality improvement programme to achieve emergency department, referral to treatment and cancer targets, improving access and Trust performance. In Ms Burden's current role, she is the executive lead for emergency planning, site operations and operational governance within Whipps Cross in the Northwest of London.

Ms Bowie added: “Our board look forward to welcoming Claire to Ayrshire and in taking forward our vision for Caring for Ayrshire.

“I would like to give my sincere thanks to Professor Hazel Borland for leading NHS Ayrshire and Arran, following the departure of our former chief executive John Burns in June 2021.”