Let’s draw health in Govanhill

A guest blog by Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland on their FSF event with Heath and Social Care Academy and Govanhill Community Development Trust, exploring people’s views on health and social care in Govanhill.

On Thursday 16 January 2020 the Health and Social Care Academy (a programme of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland) in partnership with the Govanhill Community Development Trust jointly hosted ‘Let’s draw health in Govanhill’. The partners worked with the ALLIANCE Links Workers based in Govanhill Health Centre to explore people’s experiences of health and social care in the area.

The event was held in advance of the Scottish Governments Firestarter Festival that celebrates creativity and innovation in public service with a them for 2020 of “What kind of Scotland are we seeking to build?”.

We advertised the event on the ALLIANCE and Govanhill Community Development Trust’s websites and social media channels, and a poster was created in six different languages including English, Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic, Slovakian and Romanian.  This was displayed in community spaces including the local library, health centre, shops and in local community groups.

Working with Mind and Draw, a community arts project run by visual artist Garry Steven, two sessions were facilitated with participants drawing (and writing) about how they currently feel about their health and care provision and what they would like to see improve in the future.

Promotional Poster
Drawing from participant

The two questions posed to the group were:

Question 1 – What are your experiences of health care services in the Govanhill area?

Question 2 – What would you like NHS services to look like in the future?

Feedback from both sessions were facilitated by Mind and Draw in picture and written forms.  Romanian and Slovakian translators attended on the day.  They spoke to participants about their experience and translated their stories and encouraged them to draw them.  Some people were comfortable with drawing and others preferred to use words.

Question 1 – What are your experiences of health care services in the Govanhill area?  

Positive experiences of health and social care

“I had a good experience at a scary time in my life when at a check up, I had a cyst discovered.  I had a chat with the doctor not to be worried then had a small surgery and they took it out.  Now I’m healthier and thank god for it.”

  • The doctors are nice and the kids love the play area.
  • They are always friendly.
  • My son was too scared to get weighed so the doctor weighed me first then us together.
  • My GP is very good for me, very careful and I am satisfied with the good treatment, all the staff are nice.
  • Happy with the service provided to her daughter who has autism, she had an operation and was treated with respect and care and given support and advice.
  • I registered with a GP and told him about back pain, I am now waiting. One of the GP’s was so beautiful when I see him the pain goes away.
  • Here you get medicine whoever you are, whether you can afford it or not.
  • My son fell and hurt his hand, we went to hospital and the doctors explained everything and played with my son to reassure him, my son isn’t scared anymore
  • We get help from the community centre to fill out forms, it would be hard without them.
  • When I registered my little boy, the GP sent me to the space community organisation. I got help there to register him.
  • RAFT offer recovery group and good support services.
  • GP’s happy to research if they aren’t sure.
  • Feel receptionist wants to help find a convenient time.

Negative experiences of health and social care

“When I went for a smear test, I had a young male interpreter instead of a woman. The doctor had to send him out of the room and we went on without him”.

  • I’ve had a runny nose and headaches for 2 years. The doctor gave me only nasal spray. I always have to keep a tissue in my hand. My friends make fun of it but my doctor says it is not serious. I know it isn’t normal.
  • I registered a long while ago with a GP but I missed appointments. They told me I had to register to a different practice, so I moved practice and now I don’t miss appointments anymore.
  • I used to go to the hospital a lot. I used to get very dizzy and had heart issues, I also had depression. They couldn’t find anything wrong with me. In the end I went to Romania and I got treated for depression and told my symptoms were stress based. It would have been better to know this earlier.
  • I’m looking for GP help to have another child. I had an appointment and was given light treatment but no tests. I would like to know if something is wrong with my ability to conceive so I can address it. I want to go with my husband but he won’t come.
  • Very bad experiences, lots of health conditions, mother in law who is disabled – had a stroke and was in a wheelchair. There are problems with the system.
  • Family not allowed to stay in the hospital and patient ended very scared as they didn’t speak English.

“When my daughter was 3, I went to the GP as she was ill and could not breathe.  The doctor did not give her anything – he said she should drink water.  I had to go to Romania because her health got worse.  She was in hospital for over 2 weeks! But that was my only bad experience, other times doctors were great!”


  • Too expensive to solve.
  • Dentist charges shouldn’t exist for first appointments

“In Romania of you are poor and you just get told what treatment to buy, if you can’t afford it no one cares.  But here, you get medical attention and medicine whoever you are.”


  • Language – barrier to knowing about services.
  • Cultural barriers and awareness.
  • Lack of training.
  • If people can’t read it is difficult to know if systems have changed and info is being updated.
  • Ambulance didn’t have a way of moving a disabled person.
  • Physio asked patient to bring her wheelchair which was then stolen and the hospital did nothing to get it back.
  • Taxi is expensive if ambulances don’t come.


  • Reception refuse forms when not all info is filled out, some people have never been to a doctor.
  • Reception being rude and the closer to Brexit the worse it is.

Waiting times

  • The doctor referred my son to a specialist, but years later we still haven’t had any treatment.
  • One week wait for a GP appointment.
  • Calling at 8.30am but appointments have already gone.
  • My toddler was registered but not given an appointment.
  • Waited 6/7 hours for ambulance .
  • Took the nurse an hour to come when patient needed the bathroom.
  • Husband has diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure, 3 months waiting to see a specialist and 9 months for an operation.
  • 3 month wait list in England, then 9 months to wait in Scotland for an x-ray.
  • 3 years later still no surgery.

“I would like to know if something is wrong with my ability to conceive then I can start addressing it.  I want to go with my husband, but he won’t come.  I need to convince him.”


  • Interpreters aren’t saying everything the patients say to the doctor.
  • Sometimes they don’t turn up.
  • No interpreters available.
  • Family and friends interpreting for people, but they aren’t always available.
  • Female interpreters not always available.
  • With severe hearing problems, phone interpreting doesn’t work, should be face to face.
  • Not understanding enough.

“Problem with interpreter”

“My son then 8 years old fell and hurt his head.  I go to hospital and the doctor explained what happened for my son, play with him and understand what is.  Everything is good and my son is not scared.”

Questions 2 What would you like NHS services to look like in the future?

These have been collated into themes:

Language and accessibility

  • Female interpreter for certain tests.
  • Not making cultural assumptions.
  • Support for non-English speakers.
  • Romanian person at reception so people can understand things better.

“I love my GP. But I know English my parents have some trouble with their GP appointments as they don’t speak English and sometimes the interpreters don’t say to the doctor everything my parents say.  Sometimes people ask me to go with them as they understand me better than the interpreter and they trust me.  It would be good to have a Romanian speaking person at reception so people could understand things better.”

Appointments and waiting times

  • Shorter waiting times
  • More special treatments like scans
  • More doctors needed to spend more time with patients
  • Kids should have priority for appointments
  • Smaller wait times
  • More beds

“When I registered my little boy, the GP sent me to the Space Community Organisations.  I got help there to register him.  Just now I’m having some problems with toothache and its too expensive to solve.”

“When I went with my little boy to the GP, he was too scared to get weighed, so the doctor weighed me first and then us together! Life is a little hard as I’ve just arrived, but I’m keeping optimistic.”


  • Mental health support.
  • More capacity
  • Information on jobs
  • Easy access to internet
  • Easier process of finding a job


  • More clarity
  • Improve services
  • Improve what is wrong
  • More detailed exercises
  • Nicer reception workers
  • Happy staff = happy customers

“I registered with a GP recently and told him about my back pain.  I’m waiting for an appointment and hope it would help.  One of the GPs is so beautiful, when I go to him all the pain disappears.”

The ALLIANCE and Govanhill Community Development Trust would like to thank all participants for their contributions.

A podcast was recorded by the organisers, Mind and Draw and featured some soundbites from participants at the event.  You can listen to this podcast on ALLIANCE Live

For any further information, please contact academy@alliance-scotland.org.uk or call 0141 404 0231

About the ALLIANCE

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) has over 2,900 members including large, national support providers as well as small, local volunteer-led groups and people who are disabled, living with long term conditions or providing unpaid care.

Many NHS Boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships and Primary/Community Care practices are associate members and many health and social care professionals are Professional Associates. Commercial organisations may also become Corporate Associates.

Our vision is for a Scotland where people of all ages who are disabled or living with long term conditions, and unpaid carers, have a strong voice and enjoy their right to live well, as equal and active citizens, free from discrimination, with support and services that put them at the centre.

The ALLIANCE has three core aims; we seek to:

  • Ensure people are at the centre, that their voices, expertise and rights drive policy and sit at the heart of design, delivery and improvement of support and services.
  • Support transformational change, towards approaches that work with individual and community assets, helping people to stay well, supporting human rights, self management, co-production and independent living.
  • Champion and support the third sector as a vital strategic and delivery partner and foster better cross-sector understanding and partnership.

About the Academy

The Health and Social Care Academy is an ALLIANCE programme that helps drive positive, radical change in Scotland’s health and social care, through the voice of people that live with long term conditions, disabled people and unpaid carers. The Academy’s ‘Five Provocations for the Future of Health and Social Care’[1] was created based on the vision of a 2015 Think Tank of Scottish senior leaders from across the public sector, third and independent sector leaders, and people who use health and social care services.

Registered in Scotland No.307731 Charity Number SCO37475

The ALLIANCE is supported by a grant from the Scottish Government

[1] www.alliance-scotland.org.uk/people-and-networks/health-and-social-care-academy/five-provocations/

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