Peppa Pig piling pressure on NHS with 'unrealistic' image of Global Positioning System

Patients can always get through directly to Dr Brown Bear
Credit
Peppa Pig  Netflix

Patients can always get through directly to Dr Brown Bear Credit Peppa Pig Netflix

Exposure to the children's television series Peppa Pig may be contributing to unrealistic expectations of primary care and encouraging inappropriate use of services, suggests a doctor in the Christmas issue of The BMJ. Now she's bent on destroying the entire healthcare industry. Bell says this highlights 'unnecessary prescribing for a viral illness, and encourages patients to attempt to access their GP inappropriately'. Now, a beloved children's television character appears to be taking the blame.

A GP has suggested the show's friendly family doctor character Brown Bear has added to problems facing overstretched surgeries.

One such case sees Dr Brown Bear make an emergency visit to the playgroup after a three-year-old pony coughs three times. However, she concedes the doctor's advice to offer George bed rest and warm milk "might encourage the family to self-manage similar illnesses in future" rather than seek urgent medical assistance.

For the second case, Dr Brown Bear answers the phone for a minor illness, heading straight over to the afflicted pig's home.

Bell used case studies from several episodes that showed how characters in the cartoon were quick to call the doctor over minor ailments such as coughs and rashes. "His disregard for confidentiality, parental consent, record keeping, and his self prescribing indicate that the burden of demand from his patient population is affecting his health.

He is no longer able to offer the level of service his patients have come to expect.' Bell concludes that 'exposure to Peppa Pig and its portrayal of general practice raises patient expectation and encourages inappropriate use of primary care services.' She also admits that further research is needed to confirm this, but Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, said that there is a 'serious message" behind this light-hearted article.

This case questions whether Dr Brown Bear is an unscrupulous private practitioner for conducting an arguably clinically inappropriate home visit, says Bell. "He is no longer able to offer the level of service his patients have come to expect".

Writing in the BMJ, she points out that Peppa Pig is broadcast to parents in 180 countries and will have a "significant" impact on their understanding of GP services.

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