‘Peppa Pig’ may be loved by children everywhere, but doctors in the UK are struggling thanks to the cartoon series, as published by the British Medical Journal.
In the article written by Doctor Catherine Bell, it examined whether the character Dr Brown Bear was responsible for people filling up waiting rooms, demanding house calls over minor ailments, and a misuse of antibiotics.
“Dr Brown Bear ... appears to provide his patients with an excellent service — prompt and direct telephone access, continuity of care, extended hours, and a low threshold for home visits,” Dr Bell wrote in the review.
“But could this depiction of general practice be contributing to unrealistic expectations of primary care?” she asked.
She also cited examples of Dr Brown Bear being too quick to make home for a rash and a respiratory infection, and of him catching a cough after attending a playgroup.
“I hypothesise that exposure to Peppa Pig and its portrayal of general practice raises patient expectation and encourages inappropriate use of primary care services,” Dr Bell added.
While the article was written as a light-hearted Christmas article for the British Medical Journal, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, head of the Royal College of GPs, said to The Sun that there is a “serious message to be heard” in the story.
“Whilst GPs cherish the unique relationships we have with our patients we are not always the most appropriate healthcare professional to seek medical advice from, if indeed it is necessary at all.”
“At this incredibly tough time for the health service, we would encourage patients to think hard as to whether they need the services of a GP when they or their children are ill, or whether they can self-care or seek help from pharmacists.”