Make your mark in a policy or fundraising role at The Patients Association

Published: 12 Sep 2016 By Jennifer Jackson

Patients Association

The Patients Association is one of the oldest independent charities in the UK. The charity works to ensure that the opinions of patients are gathered on a variety of health and social care issues and its work regularly hits headlines. It is currently looking for a policy manager, fundraiser and giving fundraiser to join the London office.

Ready to inject flair and ideas into a charity that makes a real difference to people’s lives? We spoke to Victoria Fowler, communications and public affairs officer at The Patients Association, to find out more about the latest roles they are recruiting for.

Victoria Fowler

Victoria Fowler


Tell us about The Patients Association and the work you do

The Patients Association was first established in 1963 by Helen Hodgson, a part-time teacher who was motivated by events concerning the drug thalidomide, reports of patients receiving the wrong treatment and tests being carried out on patients without their informed consent.
We are a small but powerful charitable organisation with a network of ambassadors across the UK. We ensure that the opinions of patients are gathered on a wide variety of health and social care issues - we do this by carrying out surveys, focus groups, listening events such as one-to-one or group meetings, and obtaining feedback from our ambassador network.  
Concerns that we hear via these channels form the basis of our campaigns which are targeted at various stakeholders such as parliamentarians, the media, civil servants, other charities and professional bodies.

What roles are you recruiting for?

We are looking for a fundraiser (trusts and grants), a policy manager and a giving fundraiser (membership, legacy and major donors). These roles offer ambitious candidates the potential to step forward and develop the organisation, as well as influence change in the health and social care sector in the interests of patients. Lots of new developments within the charity mean we are growing and looking to take on new challenges. With that comes serious responsibility but also great opportunity. It’s a chance to really make the job your own. It’s demanding but highly rewarding as you can directly see the impact of your work.

What kind of people are you looking for?

For all the roles, we want someone who will inject their own flair and ideas into the work they do.

For the fundraiser (trusts and grants) position we need someone with experience of writing successful applications for large sums of money. The successful candidate will be articulate, have excellent attention to detail and a good understanding of the charity fundraising sector. We require someone who is focused and target-driven. You also need to be comfortable working with stakeholders, from corporate partners through to grant providers.

For the policy manager position, we need someone with experience creating health and social care policies. You need strong research skills and will enjoy exploring new areas of research, as well as developing distinctive proposals. The successful candidate will have the ability to motivate and coordinate a small policy team to produce hard-hitting and innovative, forward-looking reports on the state of health and social care in the UK and what it should look like in the future. We are not a disease-specific charity which makes us unique, so lots of opportunities to learn new things across health and social care.

For the giving fundraiser role, you need to be energetic, full of ideas and imaginative. You should have experience of community fundraising - perhaps with a charity, union or community organisation. You need excellent IT skills, including experience of social media advertising and designing fun and engaging adverts. We are looking for someone who is creative, able to juggle lots of different tasks and events, and meet targets.

Patients Association

A recent Patients Association conference with one of its vice presidents, Angela Rippon

What exciting projects are you working on?

Our number one focus is our helpline which receives thousands of calls each year from patients who may have a complaint or question about a healthcare or social care provider. The need for our service is greater than ever but we do not have the resources to help everyone in need. Despite our limited resources, our helpline team takes up casework when they have the capacity to do so, in order to fight for patients’ rights at the highest level of governance.
We have also hit the headlines recently, from taking a strong stance on the Junior Doctors contract through to the release of our annual waiting times report, which this year revealed some shocking statistics.
Our organisation is also undergoing big transformations from within, with new branding, campaign activity and website which will mean we can reach out to even more people.

What opportunities for training and development are there?

We are looking for ambitious and energetic people who can meet targets but who are not afraid to try innovative ideas and go the extra mile. If you are looking for a step up, more responsibility or a chance to shape our organisation’s future, then we want to hear from you.

We are a very supportive team, and there will be opportunities to work with all the different people in the organisation, from the helpline, communications, public affairs, policy and Chief Executive on a variety of pieces of work. This would give you good insight into the different departmental work at The Patients Association as we have a close-knit team who share ideas and support each other.

What tips would you offer applicants?

In your application, try telling us about:

  • How you could help grow the organisation – for example, increasing its reach, influence, fundraising ability, policy impact: think big!
  • And/or about your visions for the NHS, health and social care for the future.
  • And, why you are passionate about the patient voice, working in health and social care and for a small charity.

Sum up what it’s like to work at The Patients Association

It’s a fast-paced, demanding and highly rewarding working environment. We are a close-knit team with lots of ideas. The diverse range of experiences and skills within our team and our work covers so many areas in health and social care that you will learn loads. Come and join us if you want to make a difference to people’s lives but also want to make a mark.

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