Health and Social Care Policy

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tania Burchardt 32L 3.30


This course is available on the BSc in Social Policy, BSc in Social Policy and Economics, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course equips students with the concepts, tools and knowledge to understand the challenges of health and social care policy in the 21st century, in the differing contexts of the UK and other rich countries, and in low- and middle-income countries.

In the first term, we consider the fundamental aims of health and social care policy, including health and well-being, health inequalities, health promotion, and health as a human right. We then examine policy approaches and healthcare regimes across different country contexts, including the strengths and weaknesses of different models of healthcare financing, public and private. 

In the second term, we move on to think about how to bring about change - both change in people's behaviour through health education, 'nudge' and incentives, and change in health and social care systems, including an examination of the role played by global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, and the potential for reform. We investigate the role that  evaluations of health and social care play in shaping policy change. Finally, we turn to specific groups and needs, including the challenges and potential of ageing, paying for and providing long-term care, mental health policy, child protection and health.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

One essay of 1000 words (excluding references).

Indicative reading

There is no course textbook. A list of selected texts and readings will be included in the reading list which will be made available at the start of the term.

Venkatapuram, S. (2011) Health Justice: an argument from the capabilities approach. Polity Press.

European Commission (2013) Health  inequalities  in  the  EU  —  Final  report  of  a consortium. Consortium lead: Sir Michael Marmot.

World Health Organization (2013) World health report 2013: Research for universal health coverage. World Health Organization. 

Le Grand J (2007) The Other Invisible Hand: delivering public services through choice and competition. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press.

Commonwealth Fund (2014) Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally. Washington DC: Commonwealth Fund.

Ham, C. (2014) Reforming the NHS from within: beyond hierarchy, inspection and markets. King's Fund.

Fernandez JL, Forder J, Knapp M (2011) Long-term care, in Smith P, Glied S (editors) The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pages 578-601.

Knapp M, Iemmi  V (2016) Mental health. In Scheffler R (ed.) Global Handbook of Health Economics. World Scientific Press, forthcoming. 

Parkhurst, J (2017) The politics of evidence: from evidence-based policy to the good governance of evidence. Routledge


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
First 30.3
2:1 60.6
2:2 4.5
Third 1.5
Fail 3

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2017/18: 33

Average class size 2017/18: 16

Capped 2017/18: Yes (45)

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Communication

Course survey results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 32%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)