Family Life

'Unrealistic': Peppa Pig blamed for causing a surge in GP visits

Unless you're raising your kids under a rock, you'll have heard of Peppa Pig

The show, will adorable, has caused many an annoyance to parents including having the infernal song stuck in your head all day, or even your little one adopting Peppa's accent. 

But Peppa has been called out on something a lot more serious recently- encouraging unnecessary GP visits. 

A recent article in the British Medical Journal by Sheffield based GP and mother, Dr. Catherine Bell, says the show is creating an unrealistic image of GPs. 

She cites Dr. Brown Bear as creating an impractical image of doctors for both children and parents. Throughout the series, Doctor Brown bear is amendable to house house visits, always available at the other end of the phone and suffers from burn-out. 

 Dr. Bell writes that, “exposure to Peppa the Pig and its portrayal of general practice raises patient expectation and encourages inappropriate use of primary care services”. 

For example, Dr. Brown Bear makes an urgent home visit to a three-year-old piglet with a facial rash. He advises the parents the condition is “nothing serious” and offers a dose of medicine.

This, according to Dr. Bell, encourages home-visits for viral infections that more than likely clear up on their own. 

Dr. Bell writes: “Dr. Brown Bear, a single handed GP with whom the Pig family is registered, 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."

“But could this depiction of general practice be contributing to unrealistic expectations of primary care?”

She continues to argue that Dr. Brown Bear is creating an unprofessional view of family doctors occurs when he visits the playschool. 

After examining the patient, he gives the child a dose of medicine, warning the others that the cough may be contagious.

Pretty soon the cough is spread amongst the playgroup, parents and eventually to the doctor himself. Dr. Bell suggests that the cough shows he is suffering from "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.

"He is no longer able to offer the level of service his patients have come to expect."

With GP's already under enough pressure over the winter months, she encourages parent to think twice as to whether a GP visit is necessary. The article also recommends consulting pharmacists for minor ailments. 

With Peppa Pig shown in over 180 countries, you have to wonder how many parents are being indirectly affected by the incorrigible Dr. Brown Bear 

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