Module lead: Dr Dave McCoy
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This is a core module for the MSc global public health and policy, MSc, global health, law and governance, MSc international primary health care, and MSc health systems and global policy.

This module will enable students to analyse and evaluate health care systems in both developed and developing countries from the perspective of access to diagnostic and curative services.

All governments accept some responsibility for the allocation of health care throughout society and none leaves allocation entirely to the market. This module is concerned with the theories behind and mechanisms of government and market control in the health care system, and with the resource distributions that result. By contrasting integrated public with market-based health systems, the module provides an essential grounding in the description and analysis of major trends in health care policy both within the United Kingdom and internationally and also with the World Health Organization commitment to ‘health for all’.
This module will address the fundamental public health question of how best to organise health care in order to achieve universal coverage. Particularly concerned will be given to the with the ways in which health care systems differ from the perspective of access to services among social groups within the population, and also with the distributive effects of different organising principles such as market and public control. Consideration will also be given to the arguments for market reforms as governments adopt policies of cost containment in health spending.


• Develop an understanding of mechanisms for sharing the costs of ill health employed in different health systems.
• Develop an understanding of economic and public health theories underpinning cost-sharing models.
• Develop an understanding of standard methods for describing and comparing models of financial risk allocation, resource allocation, and needs-based planning.
• Analyse health care systems from the perspective of equity of access.
• Critically appraise evidence supporting health care policy.
• Synthesise findings with respect to equity of access and universal health care.
• Develop an understanding of research and policy analysis capacity for public health
• Develop a global perspective with respect to access to health care


Key texts
• Morris, S., Devlin, N., and Parkin, D. (2007) Economic analysis in health care. Chichester:Wiley.
• Donaldson, C. and Gerard, K. (2005) Economics of health care financing. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Pollock, A. (2005) NHS plc. London: Verso.
• World Health Organization. (2005) Achieving universal health coverage. Technical note No 1.


(i) presentation (30%); (ii) tutor marked assignment, 2,000 words (70%)