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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 24/03/2022 08:51:46

Title of Module: Health Policy

Code: SOCY10003 SCQF Level: 10
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:C  Harkins

Summary of Module

This module takes a thematic approach to the study of health policy in Britain. This means that rather than tracing the development of policy relating to the health of the nation from its origins to the present day, taking in the structural, institutional and policy reforms of successive governments and subjecting them to critical scrutiny, we will be taking key issues in health policy and exploring them in such a way as to lay bare the debates reflected in the contemporary literature and critically analyse the different perspectives in evidence. 

That said, this module does offer students an overview of policy developments, particularly in relation to the NHS as it has evolved across Britain. But it does so in order to contextualise our engagement with some of the central questions in relation to health care policy, provision and delivery in a period of welfare uncertainty. 

Lectures and workshops will be structured around the following topics:- 


  • The Creation of the NHS and the Evolution of British Health Policy
  • Restructuring the NHS: New Right and New Left Approaches
  • Managerialism, Professional Power and the Patient Consumer
  • Rationing in a Context of Limited Resources
  • Public Health Policy, Individual Responsibility and the State
  • Explaining and Responding to Health Inequalities
  • Imagining Health Care Futures: Privatisation and Profit Making in the NHS
  • Alternative Systems of Health Care: the NHS in Comparative Perspective
  • The NHS in a Post-Devolution Context: Divergence North of the Border? 

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Outline key policy developments in the provision of health care from the immediate postwar period to the present day.

L2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the restructuring of the NHS across the UK and in comparative perspective.

L3. Evaluate the implementation and impact of contemporary health care policies with reference to a number of key issues and debates.

L4. Critically assess the impact of public health policy developments in British society.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 10.

Students will:

develop a broad knowledge of the subject but also a detailed critical understanding of key developments in policy and practice in to meeting the health care needs of a socially differentiated population;

develop a specialist vocabulary with reference to key concepts and principles.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 10.

Students will:

develop their library and wider research skills in relation to developing a more in depth understanding of the subject.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 10.

Students will:

develop their critical and analytical skills in studying health care policy and practice;

engage in problem solving in relation to the health care needs of specific individuals and social groups.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 10.

Students will:

share ideas and critical reflection with other students in an informal seminar-type setting;

draw on a range of IT applications to enhance their study and understanding of the subject;

analyse and interpret data relating to expenditure and outcomes, in the UK and in comparative perspective.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 10.

Students will:

glean further experience of working in small groups, taking the lead in some tasks and following the instructions of their fellow students in others.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
Lectures will be delivered on a weekly basis in two hour time slots across a twelve week teaching period (see section 5 for an indication of content). These will be supplemented by weekly seminars which will centre on core readings provided to each student one week in advance of each session. The seminars will embody both subject-specific and study skills elements, the latter including reading with questions, identifying competing perspectives and theories, assessing evidence and analysing policy outcomes, critical analysis and evaluation of policy, synthesizing alternative policy ideas.

Students will also be required to complete regular, self-directed and tutor-directed learning activities which will include engaging with the relevant published literature, identifying internet sources and ‘surfing’ government- and policy-related websites. Students will also be required to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of policy initiatives by engaging with a range of critical commentaries, drawing in particular on contemporary journal-based research literature.

It is anticipated that students will also develop their group work and debating skills through their seminar participation and the self-directed learning tasks set by the tutor.

The module is fully aligned with institutional priorities around the development of graduate attributes, employability and citizenship competencies, and with the institutional policy on personal development planning. The module supports a number of UWS graduate attributes including developing students’ abilities to think critically, creatively, and in an analytical manner about health policy and its implications. The module will develop students’ employability and citizenship competencies, including knowledge synthesis, ability to create and deliver evidence-based arguments, and the production of policy evaluation and recommendations
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity18
Independent Study158
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Baggott, R. (2015) Understanding Health Policy (2nd edition), Bristol, Policy Press

Glasby, J. (2007) Understanding Health and Social Care, Bristol, Policy Press

Greener, I. (2009) Healthcare in the UK, Bristol, Policy Press

Ham, C. (2009) Health Policy in Britain (6th edition), Basingstoke, Macmillan (see also the 2004 edition)

Taylor, G. and Hawley, H. (2010) Key Debates in Health Care, Maidenhead, OUP

Students should also consult the following journals on a regular basis in order to keep abreast of contemporary reforms and policy developments:-

• Critical Social Policy
• Health and Social Care in the Community
• Social Policy and Society
• Journal of Social Policy
• Social Policy and Administration
• Policy and Politics

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences - Sociology & Social Policy
ModeratorN Jenkins
External ExaminerA Tresidder
Accreditation Details
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Essay 50%
Student portfolio 50%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay  check markcheck mark500

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written workcheck markcheck mark check mark500
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.
UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.