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  1. Continuing Professional Development
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International Health Systems CPPD

Key information

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Course code:
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Delivery of this module will be online due to government-issued guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic and may be made available face-to-face subject to Public Health England recommendations. Please submit your application and, once reviewed by the module leader, you will receive more specific information about the online delivery of your module and assessments.

Course overview

What is the most effective and fair way of organising, delivering and financing health care? What is a health system and how can its performance and effectiveness be measured? How can governments and health services respond to the complex challenges of the 21st Century?

Over the last few decades a number of developments - such as ageing populations, new health technologies and rising public expectations - have helped push health care to the top of the political agenda almost everywhere. As pressures on health services increase, politicians and policymakers around the world struggle to meet the conflicting demands of expanding and improving health care and health outcomes, while at the same time attempting to constrain health spending and manage scarce resources.

Taking an international and comparative approach, this module attempts to answer the question of which approaches to designing and improving health systems are most likely to resolve such dilemmas. It enables you to understand and critically evaluate health care systems in terms of their main features, goals, organisational principles, funding, efficiency, equity of access, social protection and other dimensions. It also provides you with the frameworks and tools needed to undertake analysis of health systems in developed and developing countries. The module will also consider and critically assess the options for reforming health systems.

Content outline

Topics covered in this module will include:

  • The nature of health systems, and approaches to understanding their main goals, components, functions, actors and influences upon them.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to health financing functions, both public and private, such as raising revenue, pooling funds and purchasing and providing services.
  • How health financing arrangements affect the achievement of key aims such as efficiency, quality, sustainability, comprehensive coverage and equity of access to health services.
  • International approaches to resource allocation, priority-setting and rationing.
  • The components of health system performance and methodologies that have been used to measure it.
  • The relevance of these issues to policymakers seeking to improve the performance and effectiveness of health systems, and options for reform

Module dates

Term 3: Dates TBC



Prerequisite knowledge

Non EEA students can only apply as part of a programme, not as a stand-alone module.

  • A good honours degree, second-class or equivalent
  • Experience of working in the health sector may be considered as equivalent to a good honours degree for suitable applicants.
  • In addition we consider applications from capable individuals who may not have prior experience of working within the health sector but have clear plans for a future career path in health policy.

English requirements

For those students whose first language is not English one of the following qualifications is also required:

  • IELTS: 7.0

Module leaders

  • Dr Justin Needle

    Justin joined City University London in 2006 and is currently Senior Lecturer in Health Services Research & Policy.

    Until 2012 he was co-director of City's Centre for Allied Health Professions (AHP) Research, which carried out research into policy, practice and workforce issues relating to the AHPs, and director of the ...