Healthcare Commissioning PGCert/PGDip

Following the passage of the Health and Social Care Act, this new Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Commissioning is designed specifically for clinical commissioners, all those involved in new CCGs and emerging commissioning support organisations.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Part time

Duration: PGCert: 8 months, PGDip: 16 months

Start date: September

Details

Although fully tailored to the current policy context, the PG Certificate builds on previous successful programmes such as the MSc in Health Care Commissioning delivered for NHS London and NHS West Midlands, the UK’s first MSc in Public Service Commissioning (delivered jointly with the Institute of Local Government Studies) and a series of local and regional commissioning development programmes delivered throughout the country.

Aimed at both clinicians and managers, these previous programmes have been consistently positively evaluated, and feedback suggests they help those in commissioning roles to understand what commissioning is, where it has come from, where it might be taking us and how to do it differently and better. In addition, HSMC teaches the educational component of the national Management Training Scheme (for future NHS leaders) and the national Clinical Fellows scheme (for current and future clinical leaders).

Why study this course

Health Services Management Centre

The Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) is the leading UK organisation providing research, teaching, professional development and consultancy to health and social care agencies. It serves as a bridge between managers and practitioners in health care and the academic world of research and theory, and many of its staff have experience as senior managers in the field. HSMC has gained a unique reputation as a “critical friend” to the health care community, striving for both relevance and rigour. HSMC belongs to the University of Birmingham College of Social Sciences. The College brings together over 429 academics (including 83 professors) and almost 200 administrative staff across a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields. The College’s mission is to ‘generate new knowledge about society, and to transform this in ways that improve well-being.’

The University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham was founded in 1900 and is a member of the Russell Group of leading UK universities. It is currently ranked among the top five research institutions in the UK, and its teaching quality ratings average 22 on a 24 point scale.

Modules

As shadow CCGs are set up and authorised, there will be an urgent need for training and development for clinical commissioners and those who support them. Although policy emphasises the importance of ‘commissioning’, it has not always enjoyed the infrastructure necessary to equip healthcare commissioners with the right skills and knowledge – and formal, well established development opportunities can be rare. In accessing such support, clinical commissioners will need to balance existing workloads and  commitments with the training they need to adapt to new roles – and a PG Certificate/Diploma offers scope to get the best of both worlds the programme consists of:

Strategic Commissioning:

This module examines the origins and impact of the commissioning agenda – in health care and in other sectors. It explores prior experience of and existing research about the outcomes of clinical commissioning, before moving to explore different elements of the commissioning cycle: assessing need and demand for services; making decisions and setting priorities; ensuring quality; and involving the public in commissioning activities.

Decision-making and Priority-setting:

A key element of commissioning is the ability to assess needs, understand competing priorities and make decisions about how financial resources should be invested to best improve health outcomes. In addition to technical skills, this also requires an awareness of the principles of public value, of political and negotiation skills and of how national policy is made, disseminated and implemented. Against this background, key topics in this module include: methods of needs assessment and outcome measurement; quality of life measurement and economic evaluation; multi-criteria decision analysis; the policy process and political/organisational influences on decisions; clinical leadership and decisionmaking; and evidence-based policy and practice.

Procurement and Market Management:

In the current context, health care commissioners are increasingly being asked to stimulate and manage a market, working with a much more mixed economy of service providers. Although this has long been a requirement in some public services (for example, some areas of local government), it is a relatively new challenge in the NHS. Such issues are also acquiring much greater significance in the midst of a very challenging financial context. In addition, commissioning organisations are being tasked with securing greater procurement skills and demonstrating greater understanding of the principles of supply chain management, with many looking towards private sector sources of expertise. Against this background, this module draws on the health care experience of HSMC and the broader procurement and supply chain management literature in order to respond to this agenda.

Fees and funding

Tuition Fee 2014/15 (Home)

  • PGCert: £4,020
  • PGDip: £4,020

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships Scholarships may be available, contact: Jose Adkins, Postgraduate Programmes Coordinator, tel: +44 (0)121 414 2280, email: j.e.adkins@bham.ac.uk.  International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

Learn more about Scholarships for international students.

Entry requirements

For entry to the Masters programme you should normally have an undergraduate degree of at least an upper second standard or an equivalent professional qualification. However, if you do not have a degree or professional qualification then previous research or career experience may also be taken into account. In addition to the above, applicants to the LHSI programme must be in employment in a healthcare-related organisation at the time of programme commencement in order to optimise the application of theory and the action learning elements of the programme.

Learn more about entry requirements 

International students:

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning and teaching

Our programmes provide a challenging and inspiring study experience for both existing and aspiring practitioners in health and social care organisations. They equip participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to develop both their careers and organisations. HSMC staff bring their wide knowledge of UK and international health systems (gained through research and consultancy activities, as well as their own professional experience) to their teaching and tutorial support for students.

This emphasis on combining theory and practice is maintained throughout all of our programmes, from the choice of titles for assignments, through the involvement of practitioners and policy makers in teaching activities, to the topics selected for dissertations.

While some students choose to concentrate on theoretical topics, many students carry out empirical studies for their dissertation, often related to their own place of work or area of professional expertise.

Facilities

Postgraduate programmes are taught at Park House which is a short walk from the centre of the University campus and provides a comfortable and well-appointed study environment. Facilities include:

Just a few steps away is the University’s Conference Park, which provides an excellent hotel environment for those wishing to be residential for taught modules.

HSMC students have access to the University’s main library and substantial online journals, databases and other materials via WebCT. A Programme Handbook provides comprehensive advice and information, and a separate handbook is provided for each module.

Participants are assigned an academic tutor to guide them through their studies and bespoke dissertation workshops are held throughout the year. Students are encouraged to engage as much as possible with HSMC staff and to participate in other events such as conferences, seminars and workshops. Part-time participants are encouraged to enlist a work-based mentor to provide assistance with their dissertations and translating their learning back into the workplace.

If you require further information about any of our courses, please telephone 0121 414 2280 or email j.e.adkins@bham.ac.uk.