External Affairs Officer

This is a varied role with opportunities to gain experience in a range of communications disciplines.
  • London (preferable, with some agile working allowed)

  • Full time and permanent

  • £20,725 – £22,475 plus £4,000 London Weighting and £1,000 On Call Allowance

About the role

This is a varied role with opportunities to gain experience in a range of communications disciplines, working collaboratively and flexibly with colleagues from across the business. As External Affairs Officer you will:

  • Support the organisation in the operational delivery of its media relations work, helping us to maintain a high profile and an excellent reputation with journalists and other key partners.
  • Liaise directly with journalists from across all forms of media as well as the press offices of our key national stakeholders, helping us to maintain strong connections that we can use to stay informed on developments and to positively position the organisation and our membership.
  • Play an active role in engaging our external audiences via social media and contribute to a range of communications plans, which are focused on giving voice to the experiences of our members and exerting influence on decision-makers from across our stakeholders, including Government and the Arm’s Length Bodies.
  • Contribute to preparing and issuing a range of proactive stories, as well as respond to emerging events, including enquiries from journalists and statements about breaking news.
  • Support the monitoring of the news agenda and key other developments, ensuring that updates are shared internally in a timely manner and lines to take are prepared, in accordance with our agreed policy positions.
  • Contribute to briefing our senior spokespeople, including our chief executive, chair and directors ahead of their interviews with the media, alongside other colleagues.

About you

We would love to hear from you if you have:

  • Experience in a media relations role, ideally with an understanding of the NHS and health and care sector in England
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, political awareness and interest in the health policy landscape and the ability to respond to a fast-paced media environment
  • Strong and ongoing relationships, or are keen to develop them, with broadcast, print and online media across health to speak up for, champion and advocate on behalf of our members
  • Experience in contributing to and advising on breaking media stories and feeding into wider communications plans and campaigns that are designed to influence Government and Parliament, or are keen to learn
  • Strong organisational skills, the desire to work in a busy press and external affairs office and participate in an on-call rota outside of standard ‘office hours’ as part of an on-call rota.
  • Experience juggling proactive and reactive competing media bids simultaneously and to a high standard.
  • A commitment to teamwork, integrated communications, and continuous improvement.

About us

The NHS Confederation is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive environment for our staff. A place where we can all be ourselves and succeed on merit. We offer a range of inclusive employment policies including family friendly policies and flexible working and we have range of channels to support staff from different backgrounds including our staff networks and a staff forum.

The NHS Confederation is committed to being a flexible employer. We understand the value and benefit to our employees being able to work flexibly and our agile working principles are designed to empower our people to work with optimal flexibility and minimal constraints to support a work life balance and take care of employee health and wellbeing.

You will receive an excellent benefits package, including 30 days annual leave (plus bank holidays), pension scheme, cycle to work scheme, salary sacrifice schemes and travel season ticket loans.


  • Media relations

    • Support the external affairs team to provide a highly effective press office service, including its reactive and proactive elements, which is well regarded by mainstream media, our staff and members.
    • Support the drafting of media statements, press releases, opinion pieces and other materials intended for journalists, as required and alongside other colleagues.
    • Support NHS Confederation and NHS Employers spokespeople with their engagement with the media, including in helping them to prepare for broadcast interviews, as required.
    • Liaise directly with journalists in responding to enquiries and in pitching opportunities that will positively portray the experiences of our members and our policy positions, in collaboration with colleagues.
    • Play a key role in monitoring the rolling news agenda, including from both national and trade outlets and particularly for coverage about the NHS Confederation, our members and our strategic partners, helping to ensure updates are shared internally in a timely manner and opportunities for coverage are maximised.
    • Maintain our contact lists and record-keeping, including the logging of enquiries, interview bids, internal briefings, and key items of coverage to support internal reporting.
    • Play a key role in evaluating our media coverage and performance, under the guidance of the External Affairs Manager (Media).
    • Contribute to the use of our corporate social media channels to communicate our policy positions, support our announcements and campaigning, and engage our external audiences in our work.
    • Form part of the on-call rota for media enquiries outside of normal business hours, which is shared across the external affairs unit. An additional allowance will be provided for this.

    Stakeholder relations

    • Work with the external affairs team to support our monitoring of key developments from our stakeholders, working with colleagues to ensure that updates and briefings are shared internally and with our members in a timely manner and to a high standard.
    • Support the drafting and issuing of communications intended for our corporate stakeholders, alongside other members of the external affairs team, as required. This includes supporting our corporate publications and other announcements, as well as liaising with our networks and coalitions, so that we can raise awareness and exert influence.
    • Help to prepare briefings that will advise the chief executive, chair and directors on their direct engagement with key stakeholders, when needed and alongside colleagues.



  • Experience

    Experience of having worked in a media relations role and/or in a news environment, alongside an interest in the health and care sector in England.

    Experience of working in a busy environment and ability to work flexibility and collaboratively.

    Experience of providing advice to senior spokespeople.

    Experience of producing written communications and key messaging to a high standard and within deadlines, including press releases and proactive and reactive media statements.

    Solid interpersonal skills with experience of maintaining positive relationships with colleagues and external stakeholders, including journalists.


    Knowledge of how the media works.

    Knowledge of and interest in the health and social care environment, politics, and current affairs more broadly.


    Strong attention to detail and analytical skills.

    Good oral and written communications skills.

    Flexibility and ability to manage competing demands effectively and to a high standard, as well as in reprioritising work at short notice, when required.

    Ability to use initiative and know when to seek senior input.

    Excellent IT skills, including use of Microsoft Office, content management systems and corporate databases (CRM systems).


    Strong work ethic and commitment to working as part of an integrated team.

    Willingness to travel according to business need. Our offices are in London and Leeds, with most staff currently working remotely currently due to the pandemic.

    Able to work flexibly, including outside of standard hours when required and as part of an on-call rota.

  • Experience

    Experience of working within healthcare communications and/or for a membership body.

    Experience in communicating through social media channels in a professional context.

    Experience in contributing to communications plans that meet organisational objectives, alongside a broad range of colleagues and stakeholders. 


    Knowledge of the NHS Confederation’s work and its membership landscape

    Knowledge of media landscape, including key health journalists in broadcast, print and online.

    Understanding of government and parliamentary processes.

To apply

Complete the application form

Please note we do not accept CVs. If you require the application form in another format please contact us.

Completed application forms should be emailed to job applications.

For an informal discussion about the post and the NHS Confederation before applying please contact Helen Mooney, External Affairs Manager (Media)

Application deadline: 29th October 2021

Interview date: TBC

All applications must be received by 11.59pm on the day of the closing date unless specified. If your application is late, for whatever reason, there is no guarantee that we will be able to consider it.

Due to the high volume of applications we receive we are unable to respond to each applicant in person. Therefore, if you have not heard from us within three week of the closing date, your application has not been successful.