This textbook provides a critical assessment of developments in health and healthcare policy within the UK and Europe. Each chapter integrates conceptual themes drawn from the fields of sociology and political science to offer a unique combination of theory, historical detail and wider social commentary. The book is divided into four sections: - Section One establishes a theoretical basis for the analysis of contemporary health policy - Section Two examines the key constituents of health care 'systems', which includes a comparative analysis of EU member states - Section Three focuses on contemporary health care policy and provision in the UK - Section Four assesses the increasingly limited ability of national governments to reduce threats to the health of their populations. Written in an accessible style, the student-friendly approach highlights key concepts and includes introductions, summaries and examples of further reading. Each chapter also includes case studies and activities which encourage the reader to think about the planning, implementation and assessment of specific healthcare policies. This is a timely and authoritative textbook that covers a key topic of the curriculum while also contributing to topical debates. The book will be essential reading for healthcare and social science students taking modules in health policy, and will also be of interest to policy makers and practitioners in the field of healthcare.