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Health Policy: Principles, Practice & Evidence Base - HEA00021M

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Karen Bloor
  • Credit value: 10 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
C Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

  • To provide an appreciation of the principles and objectives guiding health policy and health reform and their application.
  • To appraise published evidence of the effectiveness and efficiency of health policy interventions and their impact on equity and expenditure control.
  • To identify and apply methods of evaluating health policy interventions using the principles of health services research. This includes use of RCTs in policy settings, and, where this is unfeasible, using quasi-experimental and other methods.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module participants should be able to:

  1. Understand the principles guiding health policy and healthcare reform.
  2. Appreciate similarities and differences in different countries' approach to funding and organisation of healthcare.
  3. Identify intended and unintended consequences of health policy interventions.
  4. Appraise critically published opinion and evidence about the impact of health policy interventions.
  5. Understand similarities and differences in evaluating policy interventions compared with clinical interventions.
  6. Design appropriate methods for evaluating health policy interventions.

Module content

The module will apply scientific methods to health policy, focusing on quantitative evaluation of historic and current health policy interventions, in the UK and other health care systems. The principles of healthcare delivery and reform will be discussed, and a brief history of the NHS described. Theory of experimental and quasi-experimental techniques for evaluating health policy interventions will be reviewed, and quantitative methods applied to evaluation of interventions in primary and secondary care


Task Length % of module mark
Research Protocol - 2500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Research Protocol - 2500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback for summative assessment is provided on the standard proforma, within the timescale specified in the programme handbook.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists are provided for each lecture. However, useful background reading includes:

For a background on health care systems and reforms:

  • Maynard, A. (Ed.). (2005). The public private mix for health. The Nuffield Trust.

For information on evaluative methods in health policy:

  • Cook, T.D. and Campbell, D.T . (1979). Quasi-experimentation: design and analysis issues for field settings. Chicago: Rand McNally.
  • Shadish, W.R., Cook, T.D. and Campbell, D.T. (2002). Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs for Generalized Causal Inference. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Fulop, N., Allen, P., Clarke, A. and Black, N. (2001). Studying the organisation and delivery of health services: research methods. London: Routledge.
  • Medical Research Council (2011). Using natural experiments to evaluate population health interventions: guidance for producers and users of evidence. [Online]. Available at:

For background information on the UK system and UK reforms:

  • Klein, R. (2013). The New Politics of the NHS. 7th edn. London: Longman.
  • Mays, N., Dixon, A. and Jones, L. (2011). Understanding New Labour's market reforms of the English NHS. Kings Fund.
  • Health and Social Care Act Explained. [Online]. Available at:

You should also keep on top of current developments in health policy using, among other sources, the:

and regular reading of the:

Also look at the Canadian Health Services Research Foundations:

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.