Peppa Pig causes mayhem for NHS doctors
A general practitioner, writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), suggested the TV show aimed at pre-schoolers could be encouraging inappropriate use of services and unrealistic expectations of home visits.
In the tongue-in-cheek piece, Dr Catherine Bell highlights how Peppa Pig’s GP Dr Brown Bear could sway patient’s expectations.
Dr Bell said she has often wondered why some patients immediately attempt to consult their GP about minor ailments, and as the mother of a toddler who is an avid watcher of the series, she writes that she thinks she has discovered the answer.
Dr Brown Bear provides his patients with an excellent service, prompt and direct telephone access, continuity of care, extended hours, and a low threshold for home visits.
Using a number of case studies Dr Bell reveals the potential impact Dr Brown Bear’s actions and how it could affect patient behaviour.
She points out that, after deciding the rash is ‘nothing serious’ and will probably clear up on its own, he still gives a dose of medicine. ‘It is an example of unnecessary prescribing for a viral illness, and encourages patients to attempt to access their GP inappropriately,’ Dr Bell writes.
She suggests Dr Brown Bear may be a private practitioner out to inflate his fees by over-prescribing.
The Sheffield GP, mum to a toddler, also brings up an episode in which the doctor visits a playgroup after a pony coughs three times, and again offers an immediate dose.
He treats the other children on the spot when they are infected by the cough and takes the pink medicine himself after catching it — fuelling Dr Bell’s suspicions that he is suffering the effects of burnout.
‘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,’ Dr Bell writes.