POPLHLTH 722 : Organisation of Health Systems

Medical and Health Sciences

2021 Semester One (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

The principles, structure, financing and organisation of health systems. Current issues and challenges facing health systems from a national and international perspective.

Course Overview

The overall aim of the course is to provide students with a good understanding of methods for financing, organising and providing health services, and of the key issues that are currently facing health systems. The course covers the following topic areas:
  • Basic elements of health systems
  • Funding, purchasing and providing health services
  • Performance measurement and management
  • Hot topics in health systems and Services
Where possible, visiting lecturers are invited to discuss specific topics.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director:
Dr Laura Wilkinson-Meyers
Senior Lecturer in Health Services Research
Health Systems Section, School of Population Health
email:  l.wilkinson-meyers@auckland.ac.nz
phone: 09 373 7599 x 89143

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Capability 6: Social and Environmental Responsibilities

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Synthesise knowledge of the historical developments of health systems in New Zealand and globally to investigate how global and national forces affect activities within the health sector; (Capability 2.1, 3.1 and 5.1)
  2. Apply understandings of the main functions of a health system and of the key players within it in order to analyse current challenges facing health systems internationally (Capability 2.1, 3.1 and 5.1)
  3. Apply and critique knowledge of the main methods of financing and organising health systems to evaluate the models through which the New Zealand health system is funded and operates (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 3.1 and 3.2)
  4. Communicate, evaluate and debate the merits of health system reforms by presenting cogent arguments (Capability 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, 3.2 and 6.2)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 1 Evaluating Health Systems 40% Individual Coursework
Assignment 2 Evaluating a Health Reform 40% Individual Coursework
Group Presentation - Lessons for NZ from other Health Systems 20% Group Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Assignment 1 Evaluating Health Systems
Assignment 2 Evaluating a Health Reform
Group Presentation - Lessons for NZ from other Health Systems

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course. Students are expected to spend 10 hours per week (or 120 hours for a 12 week semester) involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in. 

This course meets face to face for lectures and group activities over 4 block days (6 hours of lecture each block day = 24 hours) throughout the semester which are organised around modules of course content. Each block day runs from 9am to 4pm with a 1 hour lunch break and a shorter morning and afternoon break. The remaining course time (96 hours or 8 hours per week) is suggested for reading and the preparation of assignments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Campus Experience Under COVID Alert Level 1

Attendance is expected at scheduled lectures (4 block days)  to complete  the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including in-class group discussions will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

Learning Resources

There is no single textbook for this paper. Please refer to the reading list on Canvas for materials to help you prepare for class and assignments.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Previous iterations of the course included an exam but this was removed and replaced with a group presentation given at the end of the semester and worth 20% of the final mark for the course.  Students report enjoying the opportunity to work in teams/groups throughout the semester and to draw on the experience and expertise of their classmates with extensive study or health sector experience to help with their learning. 

While some students are well acquainted with the NZ health system, and this is a focus in the first day of the course, others have little working knowledge of NZ's system. In 2019/2020 more time was focused on the New Zealand System and from 2021 onwards this will be used as a key case study throughout the course.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.