CareersGlobal Market AccessMedTechValue Communications & DigitalMedical WritingHTA

Life as a Medical Writer – an interview with Helen Lilley

Life as a Medical Writer – an interview with Helen Lilley cover

We sit down with Helen Lilley to learn more about her role in the Medical Writing team. Helen has recently been promoted to Principal Medical Writer (Congratulations Helen!).

In this interview, we learn about her experiences at Mtech Access over the past 2 and half years and how Helen and our other in-house medical writers support projects, from local communication materials to global value dossiers to HTA submissions.

What brought you into a career in Market Access?

I studied for a PhD at Newcastle University, investigating adverse inflammatory responses to joint replacements. I subsequently stayed on as a postdoctoral researcher to help establish a tissue biobank in collaboration with orthopaedic surgeons at a local hospital. This was a part-time role and I combined it with working as a freelance editor of scientific publications for authors with English as a second language.

I started to consider a career away from academia but wanted a role that would still use my scientific knowledge and writing skills. I knew a postdoc who had moved into the market access field, and when a value communications role came up at another consultancy I decided it was time to make the move. I spent 3 years working in that role before moving to Mtech Access and specialising in medical writing.

How long have you been with Mtech Access and what are the biggest changes you’ve seen?

I joined Mtech Access in November 2020 when lockdowns were still in place and everyone in the company was working from home. One of the biggest changes since then has been the move to a hybrid working approach, meaning that I work in our Newcastle office for 3 days each week and at home for the other 2 days. I have really enjoyed being back in the office with my colleagues and being able to meet the wider team in person at events like the all-company meeting and Christmas party.

I have also seen the company grow considerably over the last 2.5 years, with more people joining at all levels. With this growth has come more structure across the service areas, as well as defined job roles and opportunities to progress.

What does a typical week look like as a medical writer?

My week depends very much on the type of project(s) I am working on. Some weeks I will be working across multiple different projects, such as manuscripts or slide decks. At other times I might be working on one bigger project for several weeks or more. For example, an HTA dossier often requires several weeks of writing time in the lead-up to submission.

In addition to project work, the Medical Writing team has a ‘huddle’ meeting every Monday morning via MS Teams to run through our plans for the week and see if anyone needs support from other members of the team. My week might also include project meetings with clients, internal project progress checks, and regular catch-ups with my line manager.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently writing a Global Value Dossier (GVD) for a surgical device that can be used for knee injuries. The GVD will be accompanied by a summary slide deck of the key content and uploaded to an online Global Value platform.

I’ve also recently finished a value proposition for a drug to treat infections of the gastrointestinal tract.

Over the past year, I have been working on HTA submissions for a top 20 Pharma company. This has included preparing submission dossiers for NICE and SMC, and supporting the client with a mock meeting in preparation for the NICE committee meeting.

Do you have a favourite type of project?

Not particularly. One of the nice things about being a Medical Writer is having the opportunity to work across many different types of projects, such as GVDs, advisory boards, HTA submissions, and manuscripts. I find it really satisfying to see a project through from start to end, such as supporting a product through a full HTA submission.

I also enjoy working on Medical Device projects and have been the lead writer on several projects for one of our key clients in this space. This has included GVDs, value slide decks, strategy huddles, and case studies to support local value communications.

What is it like working at Mtech Access?

There is so much experience right across Mtech Access and I get lots of support from the Medical Writers and the wider Mtech Access team. Everyone has something to offer and is happy to share their experience – I feel lucky to work with such an open and friendly group of people.

Before I joined Mtech Access, I had heard about its ‘people first’ culture and have since experienced it first-hand, from getting help with managing workload and work-life balance to being asked for feedback after company events.

If you could swap your expertise and role with a colleague from another team, who would you swap with?

Probably the Design Team, as I am always impressed with how they turn initial concepts into a fully designed and user-friendly deliverable. It’s interesting to hear about all the factors they consider during the design process to ensure that the final piece meets the client’s needs in a simple and effective way.

When you are not at work, what do you like to do?

I live on the beautiful North East coast and try to make the most of it by getting outside as much as possible. I am a member of a local running club, which has introduced me to some great people and new experiences. So far this year I have completed a few fell races in Northumberland and the Lake District; it’s fair to say that I lack any natural ability but I am enjoying the challenge (and the cake at the end!).

To learn more about how our medical writers support client projects from global value dossiers to HTAs to local communication materials, please email

If you are interested in joining our team at Mtech Access, please visit our careers page for details of our current vacancies.