module specification

SH5004 - Contemporary Issues in Health and Social Care 1 (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Contemporary Issues in Health and Social Care 1
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Podcast presentation
Coursework 50%   Essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module aims to examine contemporary issues in health and social care and will consider the implications these issues have for health and social care policy and practice. Through exploring a range of perspectives on health and social care students are introduced to critical approaches to these issues in the context of a social justice framework. There is a strong theoretical underpinning which forms the basis for applied learning and problem-solving in areas which students will confront as social professionals.

Module aims

This module aims to enable students to:

  • Develop an understanding of contemporary issues in relation to health and social care
  • Consider the global, cultural, economic and political context of health and social care issues
  • To examine contrasting perspectives on contemporary issues in health and social care, such as professional and service-user/lay perspectives
  • To consider the role of social factors in relation to contemporary issues in health and social care
  • To develop critical abilities


Some of the key areas include:
- Understanding different models of health and social care and the implications of these for services and service-users
- Inequalities and power in health and social care
- Social and cultural factors
- Data sources and measures.  
- Demography & epidemiology
- Social constructionist perspectives         
- Lay Meanings and perspectives
- Narrative approaches       
- Power and professionalisation       
- Inequalities (global, national, gendered, classed)
- Stigma 
- Disability perspectives (medical, social, critical)    
- Body politics, health & illness     
- Embodiment
- User-Led Perspectives
- Multidisciplinary contexts

These topics are explored with a focus on contemporary issues.  To ensure this module remains current the actual contemporary issues explored are likely to change year-on-year but may include:
- Mental health/illness
- Gender and sexuality
- Experiences of later life
- Wellbeing
- Obesity

Learning and teaching

The teaching and learning strategy is structured around a workshop/ seminar format. These sessions provide a framework for each topic, and during the session in-class activities are used to help students explore and apply the theories to contemporary issues and to reinforce their understanding of key concepts. The sessions are structured as activity-based workshops where students solve problems in small groups in order to integrate their learning. There is a weekly reading that students are expected to undertake to prepare for the lecture as well as reading (or other preparation) for the session. Online learning is available through the weblearn site, including a discussion board where students can upload links to issues and resources related to the course and discuss them. The students are provided with a module handbook that sets out the week-by-week topic, reading and task.

Learning outcomes

1. Demonstrate an understanding of contemporary issues in relation to health and social care
2. Analyse the ways in which global, cultural, economic and political context shape contemporary issues in health and social care
3. Recognise the diversity of consequences that varying states of illness and/or circumstances can have for the individual's sense of self and way of life.
4. Discuss key sociological theories and sociological interpretations of the relation between health and social care professionals and the public
5. Use basic demographic and epidemiological concepts and conventions to describe and explain changing patterns relating to contemporary issues in a population

Assessment strategy

Students will demonstrate that they have met the learning outcomes through the submission of:
1. A 15 minute podcast presentation [LO 1 and 6]
2. An essay 3000 words  [LO 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5]


Armstrong, D (2001) Outline of Sociology as Applied to Medicine. London: Arnold
Barry, AM & Yuill, C (2012) Understanding the Sociology of Health. London: Sage
Bury, M (1997) Health & Illness in a Changing Society. London: Routledge
Cockerham, WC (2012) Medical Sociology. Boston: Pearson International
Gabe, J; Bury, M; Elston, MA (2004) Key Concepts in Medical Sociology. London: Sage
Lupton, D (2012) Medicine as Culture: Illness, Disease and the Body. London: Sage
Nettleton, S (2013) The Sociology of Health & Illness. Cambridge: Polity
Scambler, G (2008) Sociology as Applied to Medicine. Edinburgh: Elsevier
Thomas, C; Watson, N; & Roulstone, A  (2012) Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies. London: Routledge.
Turner, BS (1987) Medical Power and Social Knowledge. London: Sage
Other important publications include:
Armstrong, D. (1995) The Rise of Surveillance Medicine, Sociology of Health & Illness, 17(3): 393-404
Blaxter, M (2010) Health. Cambridge: Polity
Howson, A (2004) The Body in Society: An Introduction. Cambridge: Polity
Illich, I (1976) Limits to Medicine. London: Marion Boyars
Marmot, M & Siegrist, J (eds) (2006) Social Inequalities in Health.  Oxford: Oxford University Press 
Morrall, P (2009) Sociology & Health: An Introduction. London: Routledge
Scott, S. (2006) The Medicalisation of Shyness: From Social Misfits to Social Fitness. Sociology of Health & Illness, 28(2): 133–153
White, K (2009) An Introduction to the Sociology of Health and Illness. London: Sage
Wilkinson, S & Kitzinger, C (1994) Women & Health: Feminist Perspectives.  London: Taylor & Francis