Leadership for Health Services Improvement MSc/PGDip

The Leadership for Health Services Improvement MSc/PG Diploma explores the theory, principles and practice of leadership and service improvement in health-related organisations with exploration of key issues relating to the individual (leadership values and behaviours, role, authority, power and influence); the organisation (systems and sub-systems, purpose, quality, culture, user choice and involvement); and the context (complex, ambiguous and political, multiple constituencies and accountabilities). It also includes a focus on personal development and action learning.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Continuing professional development, taught

Study Options: Part time

Duration: 2 years part-time

Start date: September 2014

Details

Download the 2013 MSC Programmes brochure (PDF)

This part-time programme responds to the contemporary political agenda by developing leadership skills within the context of improving health services. 

Leadership for Health Services Improvement explores the theory, principles and practice of leadership and service improvement in health-related organisations with exploration of key issues relating to the individual (leadership values and behaviours, role, authority, power and influence); the organisation (systems and sub-systems, purpose, quality, user choice and involvement); and the context (complex, ambiguous and political, multiple constituencies and accountabilities). It also includes a focus on personal development and action learning. 

Why study this course

The Health Services Management Centre 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.

Very enlightening, it has opened my eyes to areas that I had previously dismissed in terms of importance. I have found it very useful in identifying new ways of approaching difficult situations or tasks."

Modules

The MSc programme consists of taught modules (total 120 credits) plus a dissertation (60 credits). There are five compulsory modules, each worth 20 credits. Students have freedom to select the modules for the remaining 20 credits from those offered by HSMC or from the wider range of modules offered elsewhere in the University to reflect the programme's emphasis on leadership and service improvement.

The core modules are:

Managing Quality and Service Improvement in Health Care (20 credits)
This module aims to provide students with knowledge about the management of quality in health care and an understanding of the issues involved in improving quality in health services. It covers concepts and definitions of quality and service improvement, different perspectives on quality, the development of quality management in health care including an analysis of current policy, approaches to the management of quality such as ISO 9000, TQM, business process re-engineering and accreditation, and the development of a quality improvement strategy. This module is run as a one-week (5 day) block. 

Introduction to Organisational Development in Health and Social Care (20 credits) 
This module examines organisational development (OD) exploring the conceptual frameworks and scholarly practices within which OD is situated. This includes the core theories, values, and principles that underpin the different approaches that have emerged in this field, since the 1960s, how these relate (or not) to what is happening in health and social care, different strategies, types and approaches to change as well as diagnostic models for analysing organisations and exploring approaches to intervening in change. Throughout the module, attention is paid to the importance of both the process (how change is enacted) and the anticipated outcomes of change (what actions are taken). The module draws on lessons from the literature and the practical experience of those involved in planning and delivering change in health and social care services.

By the end of this module, students should be able to: 

  • Understand the origins and definitions of organisation development (OD) and be able to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of this approach
  • Examine the ways in which OD has influenced (or not) processes of change in health and social care today
  • Analyse organisations through use of diagnostic models and how this informs choices about intervening
  • Be aware of a range of approaches to change interventions.
  • Reflect on the application of theories, concepts and models within health and social care contexts, including how people respond to, and work with change.

The method of delivery will combine traditional lectures with a range of more innovative approaches including individual, group and whole cohort inquiry and application; an organisational consultation; and relevant health and social care case studies. This module is taken in two blocks (three and two days).

I felt the modules were very well organised, delivered and concluded, as they have covered all aspects and different views to look at quality and service improvement. The group work was most useful as it stimulated a lot of thinking and helped picking up things that are not too obvious from just reading."

Public and User Involvement in Health Care (20 credits)
The relationship between providers and users of health and social care services is changing, and governments in many countries are encouraging greater involvement of users and the public in the planning and development of services. Underlying these changes is the belief that services will be more accessible, acceptable and responsive if the people who use them are involved in their design and development. At the same time, there has been a strong drive to encourage people to assume greater responsibility for their health and to practise self-care wherever possible and appropriate. In the UK, The Wanless Report (2002) argued that the financial sustainability of the NHS critically depends on the population being 'fully engaged' in their own health care.

At the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Understand the development of consumerism in health care and be able to critically appraise the application of the concept to the NHS. 
  • Appreciate the place of consumer approaches within the wider context of the role of service users, users’ groups, communities and the public in healthcare.
  • Compare different methods for obtaining the views of users, the public and communities.

This module is taken in two blocks (three and two days).

Leadership in Context (20 credits)
This module draws on a framework for examining the lived experience of taking up a leadership role. It critically explores the contexts within which healthcare and leadership is situated, the role of leaders in service improvement, in order to make sense of and negotiate, better outcomes for service users, staff and other stakeholders. The three spheres of leadership experience explored through this framework - person - system and context - are brought together and considered as it applies to you, your work place and the local and national contexts within which you take up your authority and exercise leadership in role, to improve the qualityof outcomes for service users.

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the complex, ambiguous and political contexts within which NHS leadership is exercised.
  • Articulate an understanding of ‘leading’ in systems with multiple constituencies and accountabilities.
  • Understand the changing role and task of healthcare leaders as leaders of services and systems, staff and processes.
  • Appreciate the centrality of meaning and purpose as a motivator for clinicians.
  • Demonstrate how your learning about leadership can contribute to better outcomes for service users, staff and other stakeholders in your own work contexts.

Applied Leadership Learning (20 credits)
This module is explicitly developmental in its approach, with a focus on students using the experience of action learning within a group setting to enable critical and in-depth personal reflection and learning.

The action learning set meetings held for groups of up to 8 students will be facilitated by an academic tutor who has specialist expertise in the areas of personal and organisational development, leadership and action learning. Action learning sets will entail participants working as a group to define, analyse and reach conclusions to management and leadership issues being faced at individual and organisational levels.

Each student will identify key improvements in their workplace which they wish to bring about during the course of the programme. The action learning set meetings will be a forum for discussing how to achieve these improvements, and for applying leadership and improvement concepts and tools to workplace situations.

Students will be expected to do preparatory work for each action learning meeting, based on academic reading, diagnostic tools and support materials made available to them as part of the programme. This module will also require them to prepare and maintain a personal development plan (non-assessed), keep a formal structured written learning journal (non-assessed) documenting a critical reflective analysis of their individual action learning and personal development, and undertake a 360º narrative feedback.

You will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical concepts and models of action learning.
  • Access action learning as an approach that supports leadership and organisational development.
  • Reflect and critically analyse your personal leadership experience and approach, located within theoretical concepts of leadership and learning, and
  • Be confident in your personal leadership practice and using a structured action learning approach as a vehicle for personal and organisational development.

The module will begin with a two-day introductory workshop, including one day for initial action learning set meetings. This will be followed by a further five one-day action learning set meetings during the course of the module. The module will finish with a two-day closing workshop, including a final action learning set meeting.

Credits and optional modules

These compulsory modules total 100 credits. In order to fulfil the Programme Requirements you need to obtain 120 credits in taught modules. You can do this by selecting one further optional module. Below are a selection of modules available (each worth 20 credits):

  • Health Care Quality and Innovation: Approaches to Improvement
  • Health Service Management
  • Health and Health Care Policy
  • Law Regulation and Finance of Commissioning
  • Partnership Working in Health and Social Care
  • Public Service, Procurement and Contracting
  • Strategic Commissioning

Please note that the detailed content of the programmes is regularly updated in line with developments in theory, policy and practice: HSMC reserves the right to make adjustments to this indicative programme outline as appropriate.

To learn more about this MSc please telephone 0121 414 2280 or email Jose Adkins, j.e.adkins@bham.ac.uk.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2014-2015: 

MSc: £5,130 (UK/EU part-time)*
PG Diploma: £4,320 (UK/EU part time)*

*Fees for the second year are likely to rise with inflation/increases in University fees generally.Please check with the Centre for the latest fees information. 

Learn more about fees and funding

Entry requirements

The normal entry requirement for a Masters programme is a good Honours degree (upper second or better) or an equivalent professional qualification.  However, there are circumstances when appropriate career experience may be taken into account as an alternative to an academic qualification. In such circumstances, applicants may be asked to provide evidence of their ability to produce work of a postgraduate standard. If you have any queries about this, or would like to discuss your individual circumstances please do not hesitate to contact us.

In addition to the normal requirements, applicants must be in employment in a health care-related organisation at the time the programme starts in order to optimise the application of theory and the action learning elements of the programme. In the event of a student no longer being in such employment during the programme, arrangements will be made to ensure this does not detract from their learning by drawing on their recent relevant work experience. For admission to the programme, applicants will be required to satisfy the programme director that they have scope within their work experience to apply learning from the programme to service improvement by means of the action learning sets and to identify desired outcomes from participation in the programme.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students:

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – 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:

  • by holding an English language qualification to the right level
  • by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students

How to apply

Learn more about applying

All applicants will need to complete a Supplementary Application Form when applying for the Leadership in Health Services Improvement. Please complete the form and upload it at the end of your application as an ‘other’ supporting document 

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 2280
Email: j.e.adkins@bham.ac.uk  

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.

Assessment methods

student

The MSc dissertation is 10,000 words and worth 60 credits. It is a personally chosen and managed research project, undertaken over the duration of the programme with formal research training incorporated.

To be eligible for postgraduate certification, candidates are normally expected to achieve passes on all required modules, althoughoverall performance is taken into account where this is not achieved. A dissertation of pass standard is required for the award of the MSc. The pass mark is 50% and candidates gaining an overall average of between 60-69% and, where appropriate, a dissertation in this range, are awarded a 'Pass with Merit'. Those achieving an average score of 70% or more, and a dissertation mark in this range, where appropriate, are awarded a 'Pass with Distinction'.

Related research

Employability

Park HouseThe MSc in Leadership for Health Service Improvement, is aimed at those already employed in a health care-related organisation at the time the programme starts in order to optimise the application of theory and the action learning elements of the programme. In the event of a student no longer being in such employment during the programme, arrangements will be made to ensure this does not detract from their learning by drawing on their recent relevant work experience.

Very enlightening. It has opened my eyes to areas that I had previously dismissed in terms of importance. I have found it very useful in identifying new ways of approaching difficult situations or tasks."