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Postgradaute Health Services Management

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  • Entry requirements
    Participants are required to demonstrate a record of past educational achievement, and must have management experience. A degree or equivalent professional qualification is also desirable.
  • Academic Title
    Postgraduate Diploma with MBA transfer potential Health Services Management
  • Course description
     Part-Time study


    Based at Keele University in Staffordshire, the Centre is specifically concerned with the planning and management of health services. Created in 1986, it is acknowledged as an important research and development centre and a major provider of innovative postgraduate teaching. The research and development activities of the Centre operate under three broad categories: Health Policy, Health Services Management and Health Services Research. The teaching programmes focus on strengthening the managerial capacity and sensitivity to policy of health service personnel, both in the UK and internationally.

    In all areas of work, the Centre has established a proven track record of quality and innovation. Its achievements have earned the Centre a well-deserved reputation for its significant contribution to understanding contemporary issues and for the quality of its publications. Building on its success, the Centre is continually developing further areas of excellence in order to enhance the relevance and effectiveness of its activities.

    Aims of the Course

    The role of doctors and senior clinical service managers in management has become even more important within the ‘New NHS’. For clinicians becoming involved in management, an understanding of the nature of health policy and health services management will be essential if their contributions to strategic initiatives, allocation and management of resources, re-integration of care and co-ordination of service provision are to be realised. Our Diploma in Management programme meets this need.

    The Diploma in Health Service Management programme provides an introduction to health policy and health service professionals – clinicians and managers – who anticipate taking on substantial management responsibilities or who hold management positions. The course is both analytical (tracing links or causalities) and ‘interventionist’ (tracing opportunities for intervention to change or capitalise on particular links or causalities). No one theoretical perspective dominates the programme; different courses reflect different perspectives brought to bear by a multidisciplinary faculty. Principles of management are illustrated through case analysis.

    The programme does not take either the current NHS agenda or ‘various alternatives’ as the framework. Instead, exposure of a range of different schools of thought and a pluralism of values, illustrated practically, characterises the approach taken in the course.

    Candidates should expect to develop:

    • An appreciation of the nature and territory of health, policy and management
    • An appreciation of the range of relevant theory and method
    • Critical thinking about problems in health policy and management Economics, political science, sociology, management science, organisational, behaviour and various more directly clinical disciplines are examples of the range of disciplines from the theoretical to the more practical.

    Epidemiology, sociology and economic evaluation are becoming invaluable tools for ‘commissioners’, in defining and quantifying the need of populations for healthcare. Management science, organisational behavioural analysis, the management of human resources and microeconomics are vital for ‘providers’ charged with determining their business and translating it into contracts. All are represented on the programme.

    Course Structure and Content

    The Postgraduate Diploma comprises three compulsory modules (each of 20 credits), and then either a further three elective modules (each 20 credits) taken from those offered as part of the MBA (Health Executive) or an applied research project leading to the writing and submission of a dissertation of approximately 15,000-20,000 words (60 credits).

    Course Modules

    The three compulsory modules are:

    • Health Policy and Strategy
    • Management of Human Resources
    • Operations Management

    Health Policy and Strategy examines the making of health policy and the patterns of implementation, illustrating principles of policy formulation and implementation through specific service areas. Topics to be covered include:

    • Contemporary policy development processes
    • Health needs assessment
    • Primary care
    • Health inequalities
    • Evidence-based care/Evidence-based policy and management
    • Strategic management

    Management of Human Resources complements earlier perspectives of management roles in health services by looking at the people and process side of organisations. It aims to develop understanding – theoretical and practical – of organisations and how to manage and behave in them. Certain topics will be generic, whilst others will be more specifically targeted at health service issues. All will be relevant to health.

    Operations Management is concerned with the effective and efficient management of all resources employed in the supply of goods and services to a customer whilst at the same time maintaining acceptable standards of quality. In the NHS the customer will often be a patient, but could also be clinical staff, the residents of a health authority, or any number of individuals involved in service provision or in the receipt of a service.

    In terms of resource management, operations management is not just about costs but rather looking at ways of managing – in the widest sense – the huge range of resources in the NHS including people, equipment and facilities. The focus on quality means that operations management is concerned with the performance of services and hence issues such as waiting times for care, clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction.

    Operations management is therefore concerned with achieving a balance between issues of quantity, timeliness, cost and quality. All modules are taught as one-week residential courses. The timing of the compulsory and elective modules is dependent on the pace at which candidates wish to finish the programme, and on the programme established for the MBA (Health Executive).


    The award of the Postgraduate Diploma is dependent on meeting the following requirements:

    • Attendance at each of the three compulsory modules and satisfactory completion of the related assessment (60 credits) and

    • Either attendance at each of the three elective modules and satisfactory completion of the related assessment or completion of an applied research project and the writing and submission of a dissertation of approximately 15,000-20,000 words (60 credits) Continuous assessment is based on written assignments (usually 3,000 - 4 ,000 words), one related to each module taken, which is submitted for assessment and feedback. Assignments involve the application of management theory and method to ‘real-life’ (including workplace) situations and issues and a review of the value of so doing. The aim is to assess how well candidates are able to integrate theory/method and practice.

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