Peppa Pig accused of putting strain on NHS with “unrealistic” image of GPs

Dr Brown Bear is in trouble...

A doctor has jokingly suggested that Peppa Pig could be responsible for placing unnecessary stress on the NHS after portraying “unrealistic” standards of care.

One of the main characters on the hugely popular children’s show is Dr Brown Bear, a GP who works alone and provides his patients with an out-of-hours service, including home visits and taking phone calls outside of work hours.

In a new article for the British Medical Journal, Dr Catherine Bell suggested that the character could be putting strain on the NHS after offering “unrealistic expectations of primary care” and singled out three episodes that show Dr Bear offering unnecessarily attentive care to the family.

The first came in an episode where Dr Bear visits a young piglet with a rash and prescribes antibiotics despite admitting that the rash will clear up naturally.

The prescription, according to Dr Bell, is evidence of encouraging people to “access their GP inappropriately”.

The second came in a scene where Dr Bear answers the phone for a minor illness before heading straight to the patient’s home.

“Dr Brown Bear conducts a telephone triage outside normal working hours and again opts to make a clinically inappropriate urgent home visit”, she argues.

The third case came in a episode where Dr Brown Bear catches a cough from a pony, before the rest of the characters head to his surgery to sing a song to him and administer medicine.

“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”, Bell wrote.

But while the entire article was written with Bell’s tongue lodged firmly in her cheek, the Chair of the Royal College of GPs has warned that it contains a “serious message”.

“Whilst GPs cherish the unique relationships we have with our patients – and the trust our patients have in us – we are not always the most appropriate healthcare professional to seek medical advice from, if indeed it is necessary at all,” she told the Telegraph.

“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, who are highly-trained to offer advice to patients with minor ailments.”