Peppa Pig
The use of a doctor in the cartoon was deemed as "unrealistic" Peppa Pig

A doctor has penned an article for the British Medical Journal, suggesting that the popular children's cartoon Peppa Pig could be a cause for the pressures placed on NHS staff.

Writing in the BMJ, Dr Catherine Bell, a mother who regularly watches the cartoon about a fictional pig with her toddler, suggested that the misuse of medical time in the show could be having an impact on behaviour in real life.

The article is written with a certain level of tongue-in-cheek but has a serious message at the core, looking at the pressures the NHS are facing on a daily basis.

Dr Bell's piece looks at how the cartoon uses the character of Dr Brown Bear, an "excellent" practitioner, but one who sets "unrealistic" expectations for a GP.

She thought that despite the positive messages the cartoon ha,s ranging from healthy eating to exercise, the use of Dr Brown Bear "raises patient expectation and encourages inappropriate use of primary care services".

Bell used case studies from several episodes that showed how characters in the cartoon were quick to call the doctor over minor ailments such as coughs and rashes.

While the usual advice would be to rest or see a pharmacist, the characters on the show are quick to contact the doctor, who somehow finds the time to leave his clinic and see the patients at their homes.

It isn't the first time that practises int the cartoon have been compared to reality.

Bicycle helmets were retroactively added to the show to highlight the dangers of cycling, and in 2015 there were calls from government ministers for the show to include gay characters as a more accurate representation of society.