Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Christmas 2017: All creatures great and small

Does Peppa Pig encourage inappropriate use of primary care resources?

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 11 December 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5397
  1. Catherine Bell, , general practitioner
  1. Moss Valley Medical Practice, The Valleys Medical Partnership, Eckington, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to C Bell catherine.gray{at}
  • Accepted 17 November 2017

As a general practitioner, I have often wondered why some patients immediately attempt to consult their GP about minor ailments of short duration. As the mother of a toddler and frequent witness to the children’s television series Peppa Pig, I might have discovered the answer.

Peppa Pig centres around a young pig, Peppa, her family (brother George, Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig), and animal friends and members of the community.

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? In this article, I present three case studies and consider the potential impact Dr Brown Bear’s actions could have on patient behaviour.

Case study 1: Not very well

A 3 year old piglet develops an erythematous maculopapular facial rash. Her parents call Dr Brown Bear, who operates a “doctor first” telephone triage system. Dr Brown Bear advises putting the patient to bed and opts to make an urgent home visit.

He examines the patient’s tongue, diagnoses a “rash,” and reassures the parents it …

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