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NHS Ayrshire & Arran chief working 'like a dog with a bone' to turn health board's fortunes around

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The head of Ayrshire’s ailing health service claims she will work “like a dog with a bone” to turn its fortunes around.CEO Claire Burden heads into the winter without her troubles to seek.Less than a year into the role and battling the post-pandemic landscape, wait times to access a bed in her hospitals are through the roof.It’s a problem – she rightly points out – not exclusive to Ayrshire.But with ambulances stacked up outside A&E units and hundreds of patients waiting longer than 12 hours to be seen, she knows her task is critical.Burden, a former paramedic herself, came to Ayrshire with 17 years of management experience in the English health system.So her eyes, she insists, were wide open to what faced her when replacing previous CEO, John Burns, earlier this year.The baptism of fire, though, has seen the approachable boss fighting fires on every front – bidding to convince staff and patients alike that the service is not crumbling around them.“I hear the complaints and I get it,” she says, as we walk through the wards of Ayr Hospital on a typically busy Wednesday morning.“The thing I am stopped and asked most is whether I actually understand what’s going on.“Well I can assure staff and the public that I very much do and am working tirelessly to sort things.“I’m a hands-on person and encourage my executive team to be the same way.“Unless you are alongside people, they will believe you don’t understand the problems.”In that respect, Burden is very much a woman who puts her words into action.Last Saturday night, she was found on the floor of Crosshouse Hospital’s emergency department helping to co-ordinate her troops.Here, staff are fighting what feels like a constant tsunami of patients who are logjammed in the system

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IMF’s Georgieva to press for quicker action on debt relief with China
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