Improving lives through healthcare science

Healthcare Science Week 2023 is coming up from 13-19 March, when we celebrate all our amazing healthcare scientists here in Barnsley.

Press release
Assistive Technology Technician Brogan Barry

Here’s one story about how they make lives better.

Imagine some cruel illness like motor neurone disease had robbed you of the ability to speak – yet you wanted to say your marriage vows or tell someone you loved them.

Assistive Technology Technician Brogan Barry is one of the incredible healthcare scientists who has the knowledge to find tech solutions to help. And that can make someone’s life immeasurably better.

Brogan has come a long way since starting his career at Barnsley Hospital in 2007 as an apprentice in business administration. As well as working in the Assistive Technology Team, he is now studying for a degree in clinical technology with Bristol University.

The Assistive Technology (AT) service is one of ten AT hubs nationwide. The one in Barnsley serves the whole of Yorkshire and Humber, providing technology to help people with severe disabilities. For example, it can offer devices to help a child with cerebral palsy to communicate, or an adult with motor neurone disease to control technology in their home.

Brogan, 31, who lives in Cudworth, was just 16 when he started work at the NHS. His brother had also done an apprenticeship at Barnsley Hospital, working in the procurement department. Brogan gained experience in several fields such as risk management, performance and quality, working in various departments including audiology and cashiers’ office.

He said: “I’m quite practical and in audiology, I got involved in hearing aid repairs. I later learned about the Assistive Technology service and thought it sounded really interesting. Now I’ve been with the AT department over six years.”

Brogan can turn his hand to pretty much anything and has engrossed himself in the job, learning all about the equipment and the incredible differences it can make to people’s lives.

He said: “A lot of our clients have degenerative diseases and other conditions such as cerebral palsy and their needs change over time. There are two sides to AT – helping people communicate with devices such as eye trackers, and environmental controls which includes devices to turn on the TV or lights in someone’s home.”

Brogan added: “I now go on client visits and set up equipment; the range of what we provide is extensive and develops all the time as tech moves on. Our clients are different too, ranging from children with childhood autism to older adults. Our main focus is on the person and trying to improve their lives. People have even done their marriage vows using our technology or simply been able to say ‘I love you’ in their final days.”