HSC8040 : Introduction to Health Policy and Health Systems

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


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.
Students will be able to draw on different perspectives and practical examples to get an understanding of specific issues and challenges currently affecting different 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
•       The commissioning role in health care policy
•       Ethics of distribution and resource allocation in healthcare
•       Comparative analysis of health care systems (organization, services delivery and performance) in different countries
•       Health policy and Economics
•       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 and in other countries

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture53:0015:00interactive lectures and group work
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study651:0065:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures and seminars 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 exercises 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 lectures.
Skills outcomes will be met through different activities (such as group work and presentations) and through the summative assessment

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1002000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

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

Reading Lists