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Health needs assessment

Kelly, Mike; Powell, Jane; Bartle, Nathalie

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Mike Kelly

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Jane Powell
Professor in Public Health Economics

Nathalie Bartle


Roger Detels

Martin Gulliford

Quarraisha Abdool Karim

Chorh Chuan Tan


This chapter begins with a consideration of the technical processes used for conducting health needs assessment. The ways to plan the exercise, assess the structure of a given population, examine the effectiveness of potential interventions and conduct evidence syntheses are described. The complexities of health systems are noted. The relationship between health needs assessment and health economics is then examined. The philosophy of utilitarianism and its influence on health economics is explored. Cost utility analysis and its links to studies of quality of life are described. The important relationships between equity and efficiency are considered. The chapter then proceeds to explore the political and philosophical issues attaching to health needs assessment particularly health inequalities and the issues of justice, fairness, and equity. This leads to an elaboration of the concept of justice derived from the work of Sen. Using ideas about the importance of human capabilities an argument is developed about the relational approach to understanding justice. The relational as against the individualistic position is found to provide a novel and useful way of describing health need and of attempting to meet that need. It also provides a set of precepts about the ways that services might be configured.


Kelly, M., Powell, J., & Bartle, N. (2015). Health needs assessment. In R. Detels, M. Gulliford, Q. Abdool Karim, & C. C. Tan (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press

Publication Date Feb 26, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 5, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 26, 2016
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 3
Book Title Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health
ISBN 9780199661756
Keywords health needs assessment
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This material was originally published in Oxford Textbook of Global Public Health (6th Edition) by M. Kelly, J. Powell and N. Bartle, edited by R. Detels, M. Gulliford, Q. Abdool Karim and C. Tan, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press For permission to reuse this material, please visit
Corporate Creators : University of Cambridge, University of the West of England, Bristol, NHS Trust Development Authority, Midlands and East, UK


Health Needs Assessment Kelly Powell and Bartle FINAL26March2013.pdf (321 Kb)

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