Hill's professional background is as a healthcare scientist in the National Health Service (NHS) specialising in respiratory medicine. She gained a PhD in Respiratory Sciences having undertaken a programme of basic science research into the pathogenesis of chronic lung disease at the University of Birmingham. She spent three decades at what is now University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and as an academic at the University of Birmingham Medical School. She has a personal Chair in Respiratory Medicine at Birmingham University.
After earning her Ph.D in pulmonary pathophysiology, she was active in basic and translational research and clinical trials, working with collaborators in the US and Europe, and trained a variety of medical and scientific staff while still providing direct care for patients. Hill is Vice President of the British Lung Foundation having had a long association with the charity since its formation in the early 1980s.
She also established the major international conference for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the biennial COPD conference series, with Professor Robert Stockley of Birmingham University. The two are directors of the conference, which will be held in June 2012 in Birmingham. Hill first started work on initiatives for the Department of Health in the 1990s and led the development of the UK National Occupational Standards for healthcare science. She was appointed to the role of Chief Scientific Officer for England in 2002.
In addition to her role as Chief Scientific Officer, Hill is also Joint National Clinical Director for Respiratory Disease at the Department of Health, leading the DH work to improve respiratory care in the NHS. Hill was appointed as the first Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England in February 2013 following the NHS reforms of 2012. Her role involves providing leadership to the healthcare science profession and expert clinical advice across the entire English health system as well as working with senior clinical leaders both within the NHSCB and the broader commissioning system. She was awarded the OBE in the 2005 Queens' Birthday Honours. She is also an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.