Peppa Pig gets a roasting over patients' unrealistic expectations of NHS

Mike P Williams

You may have assumed Peppa Pig was an innocent-minded show for kids, but think again.

Ok, so that’s not true, but this tongue-in-cheek medical report published by an actual doctor is.

Peppa Pig has (playfully) been accused of piling pressure on GPs. (Credit: BBC)

According to the Telegraph, Dr. Catherine Bell wrote the piece for the British Medical Journal (BMJ) to highlight people’s warped expectations of doctors.

Clearly she’s having a joke, but it does subliminally raise some points to do with patients wasting doctor’s time, requesting unnecessary prescriptions, and generally being a great big faker.

In the report – assuming you’re all familiar with the characters of the CBeebies cartoon – Dr. Bell cites how Dr. Brown Bear (the animated porker’s GP) runs out to ‘sick’ patients and treats them for the most minor of problems.

Peppa Pig has previously been criticised for damaging kids’ emotional development. (Credit: BBC)

She claims it encourages people in the real world (yes, it’s hard to believe that a child’s animation can be contextualised in a real-life scenario) to seek out their doctor’s immediate attention

What it really tries to highlight is how strained the NHS is and the levels its exploited (sorry to get all serious and real for a moment).

Dr. Bell was curious why her patients began demanding immediate treatment for relatively small issues, so she quite obviously linked real people to a cartoon pig.

After conducting a number of case studies, the GP concluded that Dr. Brown Bear’s eagerness to help her animal friends could influence her patient’s behaviour.

St Thomas Hospital London. (Credit: Getty)

According to her findings (which are really scientific, by the way) the idea of the bear rushing out to assess a rash on a piglet’s face and issuing a prescription clearly has devastating effects on the real world…

“It is also an example of unnecessary prescribing for a viral illness, and encourages patients to attempt to access their GP inappropriately,” Dr. Bell warns.

She also notes how the totally irresponsible Dr. Brown Bear pays a visit to a playground when a pony coughs three times – obviously a medical emergency in need of specialist care.

Warning: Do not trust this pig or any of the characters you see in the show. (Credit: BBC)

When other characters develop symptoms they’re all given a pink medicine. She quips: “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.”

But when Dr. Brown Bear starts getting ill, she claims it’s due to ‘burnout’.

We see what’s going on here. We get that doctors do stupidly long hours and are over-worked.

She wittily goes on to comment: “He is no longer able to offer the level of service his patients have come to expect.” And there is the point of the whole study: Doctors can’t be expected to be superhuman curers of the world all the time, especially when they’ve not had enough sleep.

Who knew the massive strain and demise of the NHS was all down to an overeager Bear and hypochondriac pig?

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