At this time of year, as we plan for the year ahead, it is important that we look back to what we have achieved in 2023.

We have navigated our way through another difficult year for our health and care system. Many of our services continue to respond and manage activity well above forecasts and expectations.

As an organisation, we remain grateful to all our staff for the exceptional personal and team effort to allow us to serve our local communities. And so, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every member of staff for their continued hard work and dedication to the people of Ayrshire and Arran.

As we move into the busy winter period, we know that demand will remain high for all our services. Winter plans are in place and our teams will work throughout the celebration period, as they always do.

Despite the continued pressure, there have been many highlights to celebrate the work and commitment of our staff and services.

In 2023, we saw the return of our Ayrshire Achieves award ceremony. It was wonderful to get together and see so many staff, volunteers and members of the public celebrate all that is great about NHS Ayrshire & Arran and our three health and social care partnerships in East, North and South Ayrshire.

Many of our teams, services and individual staff members from across Ayrshire also gained recognition through being nominated or winning national awards.

As for previous years, 2024 will no doubt come with its unique challenges. But there are exciting times ahead.

We have the opening of a new mental health facility, the Foxgrove, to look forward to in 2024. Our primary care services have also been selected to participate in a national primary care initiative to build and invest in sustainable general practice for Ayrshire.

We have a comprehensive outpatient and surgical programme to deliver through both of our acute hospital sites, while continuing to provide emergency care at both hospital sites.

There are also multiple initiatives being trialled and tested throughout our community and home care services. All of these pieces of work are aligned to our shared commitment to secure the best possible health and care access for the citizens of Ayrshire.

On behalf of NHS Ayrshire & Arran, I would like to thank all our staff working across health and social care this festive season. I wish you and your family a prosperous and happy 2024.