Professor Louise Locock
Professor Louise Locock

Professor Louise Locock


Professor in Health Services Research


Health Services Research Unit
University of Aberdeen

Room 204

2nd Floor, Health Sciences Building
AB25 2ZD



I joined the Health Services Research Unit in 2017 as professor and lead for the Improving Experiences of Care theme. Previously I spent 14 years with the Health Experiences Research Group, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, where I was Director of Applied Research. I am a qualitative social science researcher interested in personal experience of health and illness; patient-centred quality improvement and co-design; and patient and family involvement in research and care. A major recent focus of my work has been how we can better use different types of patient experience data to improve care.


  • MA Modern Langauges (French and German) 
    1984 - University of Oxford 
  • M Phil Comparative Social Policy 
    1995 - University of Oxford 
  • PhD Explicit rationing within the NHS quasi-market: the experience of health authority purchasers, 1996-97 
    1998 - London School of Economics

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team member and Institutional Athena SWAN Steering Group member

External Memberships

I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

From 2021 I will be a member of the MND Association Healthcare Research Advisory Panel.

I served as a Board Member for the National Institute for Health Research Health Service and Delivery Research programme from 2014 to 2019.



Research Overview

Patient and staff experience; quality improvement using patient experience data; patient and public involvement; experiences of research participation (particularly clinical trials and biobanking); qualitative methods; motor neurone disease and other neurological conditions; long term conditions; pregnancy and parenting experiences

Research Areas

Applied Health Sciences


Research Specialisms

  • Health Studies
  • Health and Social Care
  • Social Policy

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Within HSRU, I lead our 'Improving Experiences of Care' theme, focusing on research that looks at ways to improve the experience of patients, family carers and healthcare staff.

I am joint principal investigator with Prof Jen Cleland on a mixed methods study from October 2020 on enhancing recruitment and retention of rural doctors in Scotland, funded by the Chief Scientist Office. A related new study funded by the NIHR began in March 2022 on community-led initiatives to improve recruitment and retention in remote and rural areas, in both Scotland and England.

With Prof Craig Ramsay I am joint PI on ACORN (Asynchronous Consultation Research for the NHS), examining the role of asynchronous consultation methods in secondary care after COVID-19, funded by the Health Foundation from December 2020.

I am involved in an inter-disciplinary study of funerals as a form of care and how they have been affected by the pandemic, led by Prof Vikki Entwistle.

As a co-investigator, I am involved in an ESRC/UKRI funded study led by Prof Sue Ziebland at the University of Oxford, 'Experiences of COVID-19 and recovery: learning from polyphonic voices for communities, policy makers and health and social care providers'. This will investigate the experiences of people who experienced COVID-19, with particular emphasis on people from a range of minority ethnic backgrounds. A linked study funded by NIHR is examining family experiences of COVID. A further related study, led by Prof Kate Hunt at the University of Stirling and funded by the Chief Scientist Office, will focus specifically on experiences of Long COVID.

In 2018-19 I led a study based in NHS Grampian on how staff feel about and respond to online patient feedback on Care Opinion Scotland. A wider qualitative study on Care Opinion Scotland began in 2019 with a PhD studentship funded by THIS Institute, Cambridge, with PhD student Emma Berry.

I also supervise PhD student Jade Howard on the experiences of families with inherited motor neurone disease. The Motor Neurone Disease Association awarded funding for 2019-22 to make interviews conducted as part of this PhD into a public resource on Healthtalk.

I am co-investigator on two Versus Arthritis studies which started in 2019, one on PAtient-centred Care for FIbromyalgia: New pathway Design’ (PACFIND), led by Professor Gary MacFarlane and one on Vasculitis (VOICES) led by Dr Rosemary Hollick. Both studies have also produced new Healthtalk modules on fibromyalgia and vasculitis.

I am also co-investigator on two other Oxford-led studies:

SuMMIT-D: support through mobile messaging and digital health technology for diabetes. NIHR Programme Grant for Applied Research (PI Andrew Farmer)

PURSUE: Understanding experiences of urogynaecological conditions and health services. NIHR Policy Research Programme (PIs Abi McNiven and Francine Toye)

and two studies led by Manchester Metropolitan:

Bridging the translation gap between learning disability policy and practice in search of flourishing lives. NIHR Schhol for Social Care Research. (PI Sara Ryan)

Understanding and using people’s experiences of social care to guide service improvements:could an effective and efficient co-design approach be translated from health to social care? NIHR Health Service and Delivery Research (PI Sara Ryan)

A study in collaboration with the University of Leicester and THIS Institute, Cambridge on Developing a Visual Identification Method for People with Cognitive Impairment in Hospitals (DA VINCI) has recently been completed.




Past Research

As Principal Investigator I completed the US-PEx project, a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Service and Delivery Research programme 14/156/06. This project aimed to get a better understanding of how NHS frontline staff use different types of patient feedback to improve health services and develop tools to help them make better use of these data.

I was also co-investigator on the INQUIRE project led by Professor John Powell at the University of Oxford on how the NHS can use online patient feedback.

During 2020-21 i collaborated with Prof Judith Smith and Emily Burn at the University of Birmingham and Dr Becks Fisher at the Health Foundation on a study of narrative accounts of primary care practitioners in a time of Covid-19.




Teaching Responsibilities

I am supervisor for three PhD projects, on:

The experiences of families living with inherited forms of motor neurone disease (Jade Howard)

NHS quality improvement and Care Opinion Scotland (Emma Berry)

The impact of waiting times on patients' lives (Elisabeth Kirchner)

I teach on patient and public involvement in research; qualitative methods; and using patient experience data for quality improvement.



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