POPLHLTH 722 : Organisation of Health Systems

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester Two (1245) (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, providing and governing health systems and services, and of the key issues that are currently facing health systems. The course covers the following topic areas:
  • Basic elements of health systems
  • Financing, provision and governance of health systems and services
  • The performance of health systems
  • Hot topics in health systems and services
Where possible, guest lecturers are invited to discuss specific topics.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director:
Dr Tim Tenbensel
Professor, Health Policy
Health Systems Section, School of Population Health
email:  t.tenbensel@auckland.ac.nz
phone: 09 373 7599 x 89001

Course Co-ordinator:
Dr Andrew Lynch
Health Systems Section, School of Population Health
email: a.lynch@auckland.ac.nz
phone: 09 373 7599 x86234

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Graduate Profile: Master of Public Health

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 one other country to investigate how global and national forces affect activities within the health sector; (Capability 1 and 3)
  2. Apply understandings of the main features of a health system and of the key players within it in order to analyse current challenges facing health systems internationally (Capability 3 and 4)
  3. Communicate, evaluate and debate how effectively a health system responds to a specific challenge. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Critically evaluate the methods of financing, providing and governing a specific aspect of the health systems of Aotearoa and one other country, and compare their merits. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignment 1: Analysing a health system 30% Individual Coursework
Assignment 2: Critically appraising a health system response to a challenge 35% Individual Coursework
Assignment 3: Evaluative comparison of health systems 35% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Assignment 1: Analysing a health system
Assignment 2: Critically appraising a health system response to a challenge
Assignment 3: Evaluative comparison of 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

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.

Learning 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.

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.

We will include more interactive components into the block days, and introduce slightly more preparatory tasks to be undertaken prior to classes.

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 for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

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 course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

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 students may be asked to submit 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. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.