Module Catalogue 2024/25

HSC8040 : Introduction to Health Policy and Health Systems

HSC8040 : Introduction to Health Policy and Health Systems

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Michele Castelli
  • Lecturer: Professor David Hunter, Mx Jan Deckers
  • Owning School: Population Health Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0
European Credit Transfer System

Modules you must have done previously to study this module

Pre Requisite Comment



Modules you need to take at the same time

Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to introduce students to an analysis of health policy processes and health systems functions, taking into consideration global challenges and their impact on health care organizations and policies. The health policy component covers the theory and practice of policy development and decision making, including key features relevant to the NHS. The health systems component examines and discusses the key elements and the complexity of the health systems’ from a comparative perspective. Specific examples and case studies will be presented to analyse and discuss current challenges affecting health policies and health systems in both developed and developing countries like health care financing, access to health services and health systems performance. There will also be a focus on health systems' responses to the Coronavirus pandemic'
Students will be able to draw on different perspectives and practical examples to get an understanding of specific issues and challenges currently affecting health systems at international level from a comparative perspective.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will provide an introduction and broad overview of these topics:

•       Introduction to health policy and system analysis
•       Ethics of distribution and resource allocation in healthcare
•       Comparative analysis of health care systems (organization, services delivery and performance) in different countries
•       Empirical case studies of health policies and health systems (developed and developing countries)
•       Universal health coverage
•       Health policy and systems reform in the English NHS

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

•       Develop an understanding of the complexity of health policy and systems
•       Identify key health systems components
•       Be familiar with key challenges associated with health systems improvement and health policy implementation
•       Identify key challenges and opportunities of comparative health systems analysis

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:

•       Access information from various sources and be familiar with key literature in the area of health policy and systems
•       critically investigate current health systems challenges
•       write an essay with an appropriately-focused research question and a clear knowledgeable discussion of the topic

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion301:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials21:002:00Non-synchronous online
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching21:303:00Present in person: includes interactive activities and group discussions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching12:002:00Present in person: Includes interactive activities and group discussions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching33:009:00Present in person: Includes interactive activities and group discussions
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Present in person: To answer students’ queries on the course and on the assessment
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity81:008:00Students undertake research for a presentation / student-led contribution to small group teaching
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study251:0025:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture Materials will provide students with an understanding of the basic concepts and issues of health policy and health systems. Small group teaching will be highly interactive in order to promote student’s critical thinking and further individual study. Some specific activities and arrangements will depend on the final number of students.
The teaching and learning methods used are designed to maximise opportunities for students to reflect on and incorporate their own experience into their learning. Most sessions include activities and/or discussion in small groups to facilitate critique and analysis of the subject. Students will have the opportunity to read different material (in advance of the session and/or afterwards) in order to maximise their learning of the topics discussed in the lecture materials and small group sessions. Learning outcomes will be met through different activities (such as student-led group activity, presentations, class activities/discussions and independent study) and through the summative assessment. The drop-in session will provide students with the opportunity to discuss issues related to the course and to ask questions on the assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation2M100Individual oral presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay assignment will evaluate students’ understanding and critical analysis of relevant health policy and systems issues, enabling students to demonstrate an understanding of the subject.
The aim of the assignment is to test students’ ability to make use of pertinent literature, to access and critically analyse information on health policy and systems from various sources and to develop a clear and critical discussion on a selected topic with a structured argument.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


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The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2024 academic year.

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