Healthcare systems

You will gain an overview of understanding the goals, objectives and functions of a healthcare system.

By comparing and contrasting different healthcare systems, students will develop a broad understanding of how healthcare systems operate, deliver services and finance those services. Healthcare systems examined will provide examples of different welfare state structures, different healthcare system typologies, different levels of development and wealth, and the resultant healthcare outcomes. Students will gain an understanding of how healthcare policy is influenced and designed, and the means by which they are implemented at international, national, regional, and local levels.

This module will equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to evaluate healthcare systems and make meaningful comparisons between different delivery approaches.

Topics covered

  • Classification of healthcare systems
  • Evaluation of healthcare systems
  • Governmental healthcare models, state funding and taxation
  • Private healthcare systems and insurance systems
  • Regional and local devolution of healthcare budgets
  • Primary and community healthcare and integrated health and social care systems
  • Public health services
  • Approaches to managing clinical research and clinical education
  • Health technology assessment
  • Global healthcare organisations and their role in policy and aid

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • assess how health policies are initiated, developed and implemented at international, national, regional, and local levels.
  • evaluate important political and economic factors influencing individual and population health, healthcare and health policy in different parts of the world.
  • appraise the main approaches to analysing a healthcare system.
  • interpret the leadership, negotiation and business skills required to effectively design and manage healthcare services.
  • categorise the roles and limitations of markets and incentives in health systems.
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of different healthcare models, and of the challenges involved in comparing them.
  • analyse the impact of global healthcare organisations on patient and public outcomes.
  • critically analyse health systems in developed and developing countries with respect to their organisational and funding principles, and assess their effectiveness.
  • assess organisational models and partnerships for health care delivery, including those that integrate health and social care.
  • understand soft power, and influencing skills in the development and delivery of policy.
  • negotiate with policy makers in relation to developing health systems.
  • navigate governmental stakeholders involved in setting health policies (e.g. Ministers of Finance, Ministers of Health).


Coursework (50% weighting):

There is one item of coursework for this module which contributes to the final assessment mark for this module:

Coursework: a written assignment of a maximum of 2,000 or 2,500 words (deadline – weeks 9-12). The coursework is designed to check student progress, extend and reinforce concepts covered and also test individual performance.

Examination (50% weighting):

The final piece of assessment will be an unseen written examination of two hours' duration.