Ethics and Economics of Healthcare


“Nothing is more valuable than health.” Yes, but healthcare has become very expensive, and there seems to be no limit to the demand. That causes political and economic problems, for the governments that pay most of the bills and for the taxpayers whose want to get more and pay less. We’ll look at how healthcare is rationed, the rivalry of public health and medicine, and the cultural expectations that surround matters of health, life and death. And we’ll see how these issues played out in the response to Covid-19.

Programme details

Seminar 1 : Sun, 9.00am – 10.30am

Why is health care so expensive?

Seminar 2 : Sun, 11.00am – 12.30pm

Public health vs. clinical medicine

Seminar 3 : Mon, 9.00am – 10.30am

Birth, death, and life at all costs

Seminar 4 : Mon, 11.00am – 12.30pm

Tender loving care in an atomised society

Seminar 5 : Tue, 9.00am – 10.30am

Matching expertise to needs and desires

Seminar 6 : Tue, 11.00am – 12.30pm

Medical Nemesis: Do we have it all wrong?

Seminar 7 : Wed, 9.00am – 10.30am

How to ration a precious good

Seminar 8 : Wed, 11.00am – 12.30pm

Placebos, effectiveness, and best practice

Seminar 9 : Thu, 9.00am – 10.30am

Why do poorer people die younger

Seminar 10 : Thu, 11.00am – 12.30pm 

The NHS: monolithic care

Seminar 11 : Fri, 9.00am – 10.30am

The US exception: excellence (maybe) and failure (certainly)

Seminar 12 : Fri, 11.00am – 12.30pm

The response to Covid-19


Description Costs
Programme Fee (No Accommodation - inc. Tuition, Lunch & Dinner) £945.00
Programme Fee (Standard Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1630.00
Programme Fee (Standard Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1365.00
Programme Fee (Superior Single Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1660.00
Programme Fee (Superior Twin Room - inc. Tuition and Meals) £1400.00


Concessionary rates are available on a non-residential basis for those that qualify, more information can be found here

Unfortunately we do not offer any specific scholarships or funding opportunities for OUSSA programme, but you can visit our departmental funding webpage, where you may be able to find a particular source of funding that matches your requirements alongside meeting the funding criteria.


All fees are charged on a per week, per person basis.

Please be aware that all payments made via non-UK credit/debit cards and bank accounts are subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

Tuition and meals are included in the programme fee, with both residential and non-residential options available.

Course change administration fee: Please note that course transfers may be permitted in exceptional circumstances; however, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions, an administration fee of £50 will be charged.

Payment terms

  • If enrolling online: full payment by credit/debit card at the time of booking
  • If submitting an application form: full payment online by credit/debit card or via bank transfer within 30 days of invoice date

Cancellations and Refunds

1. Cancellation by you

Participants who wish to cancel must inform the Programme Administrator in writing: by email to or by post to OUSSA, OUDCE, 1 Wellington Square, OXFORD, OX1 2JA, UK.

The following cancellation and refund policy applies in all cases:

  • Cancellation within 14 days of online enrolment / payment of fees – full refund of all fees paid.
  • Cancellations received up to and including 30 April 2023 – OUDCE will retain an administration fee of £100 per week booked; all other fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received between 1-31 May 2023 – OUDCE will retain 60% of the fees paid; the remaining 40% of fees paid will be refunded.
  • Cancellations received on and after 1 June 2023 - no refunds will be made.

2. Cancellation by us

OUDCE reserves the right to cancel a course where there is good reason, for example, if exceptionally low enrolment would make it educationally unviable. In these cases we will refund the course fees that you have already paid. If we cancel a course, our liability is limited to the fees that we have received from you; this means that we will not compensate you for any pre-booked travel costs or any other expenses incurred.

Where course fees have been paid in currencies other than pounds sterling, refunds will be subject to the exchange rate on the day they are processed.

The status of this course will be reviewed on 1 May 2023. If it is likely that the course may be cancelled, all those affected will be notified by email within 7 days; if you have not heard from OUDCE by 8 May 2023, you should assume that your course will be running. You may wish to delay finalising your travel arrangements until after this date.

3. Travel insurance 

The Department cannot be held responsible for any costs you may incur in relation to travel or accommodation bookings as a result of a course cancellation, or if you are unable to attend the course for any other reason. You are advised to check cancellation policies carefully and to purchase travel insurance.


Mr Edward Hadas


Edward Hadas is a Research Fellow at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University and a tutor with the Stanford University program in Oxford. He is the author of Counsels of Imperfection: Thinking through Catholic Social Teaching (2020) and Money, Finance, Reality, Morality (2022). 

Course aims

This course aims to explore the interaction of the hard ethical challenges and equally hard economic ones in contemporary healthcare.

Teaching methods

Participants will be taught in seminar groups of up to 12 people. The teaching methods used during this course will include:

  • Short lectures/Presentations
  • Seminars/group discussions

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be expected to understand:

  • Why healthcare has become so expensive
  • How hard it is to decide how to allocate healthcare spending
  • The complex social interaction between expensive and inexpensive care
  • The ethical challenges of “preserving life at [any or X) cost”
  • How to compare British and American healthcare

Assessment methods

Students are assessed during the summer school by either a 1500 word written assignment or a presentation supported by individual documentation. To successfully gain credit (10 CATS points) students should attend all classes and complete the on-course assignment. There is also a pre-course assignment of 1000 words set. Although this does not count towards credit, it is seen as an important way of developing a student's ideas and therefore its completion is mandatory.


More information about our accommodation can be found here