External Affairs Officer

This is an exciting opportunity for someone who is looking to develop their understanding of media relations
  • London (preferable, with some remote working allowed)

  • Full time, Permanent

  •  Up to £27,960 including London Weighting and on call allowance 

About the role

We are looking for a media relations professional to join our fast-paced, supportive and hard-working team at the NHS Confederation and help to place the experiences of health leaders at the centre of national health reporting. As External Affairs Officer you will be responsible for a range of activities, including:

  • helping us to maintain a high profile and an excellent reputation with journalists and other key partners.
  • liaising directly with journalists from across all forms of media as well as the press offices of our key national stakeholders.
  • helping to develop a range of proactive stories, as well as responding quickly to emerging events, including enquiries from journalists and statements about breaking news.
  • monitoring the news agenda, as well as supporting our social media presence and our internal planning
  • helping to brief of our senior spokespeople, ahead of their media interviews

About you

We would love to hear from you if you:

  • have experience in a media relations role and understand what makes a story
  • have excellent written and oral communication skills
  • thrive in working in a fast-paced environment and can juggle proactive and reactive workloads at the same time
  • are organised, have fresh ideas and are great at building relationships

This is an exciting opportunity for someone who is looking to develop their understanding of media relations, build their contact base and contribute to improving the NHS and the experiences of its workforce, while being exposed to broader communications disciplines, including stakeholder management and public affairs.

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

Please complete the application form. Please note we do not accept CVs. If you require the application form in another format please contact askhr@nhsconfed.org.

Completed application forms should be emailed to jobapplications@nhsconfed.org.

For an informal discussion about the post and the NHS Confederation before applying please contact helen.mooney@nhsconfed.org

Application deadline: 13th December 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.