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Maybe one day we’ll all live in a Peppa Pig-type of world

PUBLISHED: 08:47 18 December 2017

Peppa Pig: The Channel 5 'Milkshake' cartoon favourite is responsible for raising unrealistic expectations about the NHS, says the British Medical Journal. Picture: Channel 5

Peppa Pig: The Channel 5 'Milkshake' cartoon favourite is responsible for raising unrealistic expectations about the NHS, says the British Medical Journal. Picture: Channel 5

Archant

People have unrealistic expectations about the NHS because of Peppa Pig apparently. Really? asks Sharon Griffiths.

It’s all Dr Brown Bear’s fault. He’s Peppa Pig’s GP and is single-handedly undermining the NHS.

An article in the British Medical Journal says Dr Bear – who runs a one-bear practice - is too quick to do house visits and prescribe medicines. As soon as Peppa or little brother George feels the slightest bit unwell, Dr Bear and his little black bag is round there in a flash.

It raises patients’ expectations, says the BMJ and bears no relation to the real world.

Well, no. It’s a cartoon about a pink pig in a dress who rides a bike. What do you expect?

Maybe Dr Bear has no more back-up than an ageing housekeeper like Dr Finlay but I’d like to think he has access to a whole Health Centre of professionals.

Meanwhile, even though our postmen are wonderful, I don’t know many of them who drive around with a cat in the van, help herd sheep, cut lawns and do all the good neighbourly stuff that Postman Pat does. Our Fire and Emergency Service doesn’t end every call out with a Trumpton-esque band concert either.

Bob the Builder with his “Can we fix it? Yes we can!” clearly never did the apprenticeship where he sucks his teeth, shakes his head and talks about maybe fitting you in maybe somewhere just before 2020.

As for soap operas…. Residents there can get builders within minutes, buy and sell houses in days, recover from major trauma/injury overnight and look beautiful even while dying. Mmmmm….

Back in the real world there’s a real shortage of GPs – 12% vacancies at the moment – many people struggle to get appointments, A& E is bursting at the seams, the NHS is buckling under the strain. The thought that a GP might rush off immediately to a toddler with a funny rash is impossible.

But wouldn’t it be wonderful if it really could be like that? If there were enough doctors with enough time so that we never had to panic or worry or dash with a baby to hospital in the middle of the night because we knew there was absolutely no chance of a house call and not much more of a speedy appointment?

Dr Brown Bear sets a high standard that will be deeply ingrained into toddler brains across the world, an idea of how things should be done.

Of course it raises patient expectations. Maybe it also encourages ambition and determination and gives them something to aim for, to inspire them to set high standards when they grow up. They will know that this is how it should be.

One day Peppa will be a very old pig indeed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she and everyone else had the same standard of care she receives now?

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