Interview with Louis Horsley

28 June 2022

Interview with Louis Horsley

Consultant Louis Horsley, has been working as part of Traverse’s health and care team for the past 18 months. With a passion for getting under the skin of complex challenges, Louis shares an insight into his role and why he believes in what he does. 

Louis, tell us what you do at Traverse. 

I started out as a project coordinator almost four years ago and gradually began to specialise in health and care projects, which is what led me to where I am today. 

In a nutshell, clients come to us when they are considering or are about to embark on a change process of some kind and want to hear from their local people and communities to inform their decisions. It can be driven by a number of things. Perhaps a change in local strategy, something nationally mandated like the shift to integrated care systems or a recognition of changing needs within their population.  

My job is to work with them to understand their requirements and suggest how we can give support. That can be to provide additional capacity for research and engagement, or to offer our expertise and guidance in these areas. Often there’s an element of translating ‘NHS-speak’ into clear requirements.  

So, for example, if they are looking to engage or consult local people, I can work with them to understand if that’s through physical face to face engagement with people from a specific community or population, or if their goals could be met through a straightforward survey.  

I also often work with clients to gauge whether they are looking to gain a deep understanding from a small number of people or want to gather more high-level input from as many people as possible. We usually talk about this as breadth versus depth.  

We then take all this information to form a proposal and work in partnership with the client to help them get the insights they require. 

What kind of projects do you work on? 

A good recent example is where I have been working with a large hospital trust to understand what drives and motivates their workforce. The insight gained will be used to help bring their organisational strategy to life and establish a community of 100 colleagues to share stories of why they come to work and why their work matters to them.  

I often like to use a theoretical model to visualise a project, and, in this case, I used Ikigai which is a Japanese concept designed to help people improve their work and life. There is no direct translation into English, but it is essentially about identifying whatever it is that makes you get up in the morning. It’s often presented as a Venn diagram in the West, with four overlapping qualities: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. 

Taking this concept forward, we will run a series of in-depth workshops alongside some activities through our online research platform which participants can complete in their own time, to understand more about what matters most to people about the work they do in the hospital. 


What do you enjoy most about your work? 

I think the answer to this is two-fold. Personally, I am really proud to be supporting clients to drive forward improvements in the health and care sector, particularly when it comes to tackling health inequalities. Throughout my career, the ability to have a social impact has always been an important factor in the choices I have made. 

From a technical point of view, I really enjoy helping people solve complex and challenging problems. Most of the projects I work on have no precedent and are often around controversial or emotionally charged subject areas and I love finding innovative and sensitive ways to support our clients in getting the insight they need to make changes successful for all.  

Which project are you most proud of?   

We are close to completing a project with Healthwatch England, where we have been supporting local Healthwatch teams to prepare for the transition to integrated care systems. Everything in this is new and extremely complex. Local Healthwatch organisations have a crucial role to play in holding their NHS organisations to account and ensuring the best possible care for local people.  

Through this project we’ve been able to make sure the voices of local people have been heard and taken forward into the new way of working. I’m particularly proud of this project because it will have such a far reaching and long-standing impact on the quality of healthcare in so many areas.  

The VacciNation project is also a big one for me. By helping the government to understand the reasons people from the African, Bangladeshi, Caribbean, and Pakistani communities may have felt hesitancy towards the COVID-19 vaccination, together with Healthwatch England we have influenced the way they communicate and engage with these groups about all aspects of health and care.  

On a side note, I’m also working with colleagues to build a network of associates to work with us on to bring forward their knowledge and expertise and improve services even further. 

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the health and care sector right now?  

As always, people are being asked to do more with less. However, I think the single biggest challenge is going to be around making sure that the positive changes made unofficially during the pandemic aren’t lost. As health and care becomes an integrated system, it will be essential for people and communities to be at the heart of things if we want to address long standing health inequalities and improve health outcomes.  

In partnership with our Traverse colleagues, we are working with local Integrated Care Systems and Boards to develop formative evaluation and quality improvement approaches to really understand the impact that involving people and communities can make.   

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