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HSC8040 : Introduction to Health Policy and Health Systems

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Benjamin Rigby
  • Lecturer: Professor Emily Oliver
  • 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


This module aims to introduce students to an analysis of health policy processes and health systems functions, taking into consideration local and 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.
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 different levels 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 and prevention.
•       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

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 teaching33:009:00Present in person: Includes interactive activities and group discussions
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 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.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation2M100PIP individual presentation, 10 mins plus 5 mins question and answers. Slides required to be submitted by a specified date prior to the presentations, which will be no later than 24 hours ahead of time.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The oral presentation 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 oral presentation 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. It will also test students’ ability to present their work in front of an audience and to respond to questions.

Reading Lists