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92050 Policy, Power and Politics in Health Care

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2019 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject aims to provide students with essential knowledge and skills relevant to the policy and political environments in which health services operate. It is important for clinicians, health service managers, health service planners and those intending to work in the health service environment to understand the political environment in which decisions are made, how government health policies are formulated and enacted, and how they are received. The subject covers the ideological frameworks underpinning public policy development; the policy formulation process; power differentials in the development and acceptance of health policies; how the health and political systems manage complex and grey issues; facilitators and challenges to policy implementation; and the influence of stakeholders and the media.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Examine how government policy is formulated within legal and ethical frameworks
B. Differentiate between the political ideologies that underpin the delivery of healthcare services
C. Judge the implications of the use of power in public policy decision making
D. Assess and apply the competencies and skills required to effectively evaluate existing and emerging health policies in the management and planning of health services
E. Evaluate the role of senior management, governments and interest groups (advocacy organisations, media, health professions/coalitions, private sector) in managing emerging issues, setting the health policy agenda and in policy development
F. Create a variety of ways in which complex issues can be effectively communicated for a variety of target audiences.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Are reflective, critical thinkers who influence practice, policy and research to achieve clinical excellence and transform healthcare services (1.0)
  • Effective, collaborative and responsive leader who considers health care in a global context (2.0)
  • Socially, culturally and ethically accountable when engaging with individuals, families, interdisciplinary teams, communities, organisations and jurisdictions (3.0)
  • Communicate effectively and appropriately in challenging, complex and diverse situations (4.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is taught using a variety of teaching and learning strategies. The strategies used emphasise active and applied approaches to developing students’ ability to understand management in health services and organisations, and apply this knowledge to generate effective, practical solutions to health system challenges. An overarching theme of the approaches to teaching and learning is to support students to actively learn in the classroom (individually and in collaboration with others), where they can interact with each other and the facilitator who can observe, assist and coach them.

Understanding and critical thinking skills will be encouraged via a range of activities, including:

  • Pre-class learning via on-line resources to prepare for active participation in workshops.
  • Mini lectures and briefings, which include whole class brainstorming sessions.
  • In-class problem solving, discovery-based and critical thinking activities via cooperative group work (pairs and small groups).
  • Whole class teaching with examples, illustrations and data.
  • Time while on campus for students to reflect on, explain and record assessable tasks under continual advice and guidance.
  • Student led activities.
  • Real-time in-class feedback.

Content (topics)

  • Key forces shaping public health policy today
  • Health policy development and analysis
  • Power and public policy
  • Political ideologies and their influence on health policy
  • The ethical ‘politics’ of health policy making
  • Impact of poor health policy
  • Stakeholders in public health policy
  • Media’s role and influence in health policy


Assessment task 1: Health Policy Stakeholders


Provides students with the opportunity to analyse the health policy literature, learn the process and language of health policy and the importance and influence of the involvement of various stakeholder groups.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, D and E

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 3.0 and 4.0

Weight: 40%

2100 word annotated bibliography

Assessment task 2: Media Analysis


This assessment item focusses on understanding the power of the media in influencing health policy and politics.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C and D

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 2.0 and 4.0

Weight: 40%

2500 word essay (students should ensure they gain a sound understanding of the academic definition of an essay before commencing this assignment)


Student assignments will be assessed on the basis of how well assignments analyse the media article in terms of the range of approaches used by media, as identified in academic research, to influence an audience. These include, but are not limited to, balance of perspectives and evidence, power, attitude, ideological viewpoint/s and others.

Assessment task 3: Health Policy Issue


Provides students with the opportunity to investigate a key health policy issue and explore and generate potential solutions. They will also have the opportunity to effectively transmit knowledge and solutions regarding the issue to the facilitator and peers and learn to critique their own solutions as well as those of other students.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

D, E and F

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

1.0, 3.0 and 4.0

Weight: 20%

Required texts

Due to the varied and highly complex nature of policy, power and politics in healthcare, there is no single mandatory text for this subject

Recommended texts

These texts may further support in-class learning:

Palmer, G. & Short, S. 2014, Health care and public policy: an Australian analysis, 5th edn, Palgrave Macmillan, Melbourne.

Economou, N. and Tanner, S., 2008. Media, power and politics in Australia. Pearson Education Australia.

Woodward, D. Parkin, P and Summers, J. (Eds) 2013 Government, Politics, Power and Policy in Australia 2nd Edition. Pearson publishers, Australia

Daniel Jackson 2012 Healthcare Economics Made Easy. Second Edition. Scion Publishing, Banbury, UK.

Barraclough, S. & Gardner, H. (eds) 2008, Analysing health policy: a problem-oriented approach, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier., Sydney.

Blank, R.H. & Burau, V. 2010, Comparative health policy, 3rd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Dugdale, P. 2008, Doing health policy in Australia, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest NSW. Chapters 3, 8 and 10.

Duckett, S and Willcox, S. 2015. The Australian Health Care System. 5th Ed.Oxford University Press, UK.

Lovett-Scott, M and Prather, F. 2012, Global Health Systems, Jones and Bartlett Publishers Sudbury, Canada.

N.B. Academic readings and other relevant resources are provided on UTSOnline throughout the duration of the subject.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website (, the Health Student Guide ( and UTSOnline at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, old exam papers, academic writing guides, health literature databases, workshops, a gaming room and bookable group study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with all your questions.
W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.