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Module SXP-4037:
Health Policies

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Hefin Gwilym

Overall aims and purpose

This module adopts a comparative approach to the study of health policies in the devolved nations of the UK and internationally. Starting with international comparisons students will consider the political economy of health and develop an understanding of the dynamics of power between professionals, managers and patients. The role of social policy analysis in evaluating the impact of change, factors associated with good and bad practice, and barriers to implementing new health policies is explored through examples and case studies. The case of the British NHS will be considered in detail examining evidence of attempts to improve the quality of care through funding and organizational change. The module will examine the implications of devolution for the NHS as well as marketisation and privatisation policies based around the notions of choice and the citizen consumer.

Course content

Health Policy Comparative health policy Comparing health care systems Global patterning of health Social determinants of Health Health Inequalities Spatial patterning of health Unemployment and Health Global Ageing Rationing and Health Policy The Professions History of Health Policy in Britain I History of Health Policy in Britain II
The Privatisation and Marketisation of Health Care The Changing Divide between Health and Social Care Devolution and Health policy Mental Health Policy Governance and Health Care Language, Culture and Health Policy

Assessment Criteria


Provide an account of the origins of the principles and practices of health policy; demonstrate an awareness of the main health policy models; provide a basic account of economic, social and political factors influencing health policy; present spoken and written material clearly, focusing on major points relevant to the question or argument; locate basic sources of information and produce appropriately formatted and referenced work


Provide a comprehensive account of the historical development of health policy and the NHS in particular; describe the various agencies involved in the development of health policies; explain and evaluate the main health policy models; explain and appreciate the ways in which economic, demographic, sociological and political factors in general and in particular have impacted upon the development of health policy; speak and write in fluent prose, summarising material and arguments competently; search databases efficiently, contribute effectively within a group.


Provide a comprehensive account of the historical development of health policy in the UK; examine the effect of devolved government on the development of health policy; provide an evaluative account of theoretical concepts in relation to policy and apply these theories to specific examples of policy questions; make oral and written presentations of relatively complex material in a clear and competent manner, identifying and focusing on some of the major relevant issues; work independently to locate a wide range of sources of information, and produce properly referenced written work that is of a good standard.

Learning outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of recent and current policy debates on the organization and delivery of health services
  2. Understand and be able to apply analytical skills to assess evidence and different arguments for organizational change in health at regional, national and international levels.
  3. Show a working knowledge of the historical development of the NHS.
  4. Thoroughly understand the main implications of devolved government for health care in the light of comparisons with other countries and regions.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 70
Presentation 30

Teaching and Learning Strategy

  Students should have access to a range of resources, including texts, monographs and journals, both text and electronic; and computing resources including hardware, software and learning environments such as Blackboard  
  Students have a flexible learning environment, both to accommodate students from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.  
  Students will be exposed to a variety of teaching and learning formats, including lectures, seminars and workshops, independent study and flexible learning via Blackboard.  
  Students will be encouraged to adopt active learning during lectures, and to develop skills in listening, note-taking and reflection.  
  Seminars and workshops will provide the opportunity for student-centred and interactive learning  
Lecture 200

Courses including this module

Optional in courses: