John Burns joined the NHS in 1983 having completed a BA (Hons) in Business Studies.
Starting in personnel, he moved into hospital administration working in Dundee and Glasgow. During this period he completed the Diploma in Health Service Management, a MBA and a Certificate in Health Economics.
In 1993, John was appointed as Director of Planning and Contracts at the Southern General Hospital NHS Trust, Glasgow and then South Glasgow University Hospital NHS Trust.
2001 saw John move to Dumfries and Galloway to take up post as Chief Executive of Dumfries and Galloway Acute NHS Trust. In 2003, John was appointed Director of Health Services / Deputy Chief Executive for NHS Dumfries & Galloway and was appointed Chief Executive of NHS Dumfries & Galloway in May 2004. He took up post of Chief Executive of NHS Ayrshire &Arran on 1 February 2012.
John is the Regional Implementation Lead for the West of Scotland and a member of the National Delivery Programme Board which has oversight of the Health and Social Care Delivery Plan.
John has also taken forward a range of work nationally that includes financial shared services, occupational health and safety, Patient safety, diagnostics and health and community care. From 2014 to 2017, John chaired the NHSScotland Chief Executives Group.
John is a Companion member of the Scottish Institute of Health Management (SIHM) and an alumni of the Windsor Leadership Trust.