If it takes a kids’ cartoon to get the medical profession and media animated about how we use our precious primary care services – then all hail to the pig, says Ross Campbell
As a parent of a pre-school child, I am well aware of the power and influence of Peppa Pig. For those reading this who also have toddlers, I’m sure you have can share my pain of enduring the escapades of Peppa et al. If you haven’t already seen it, check out the episode where Peppa has a sight test – there are some interesting clinical tests performed! For those of you who have no clue who or what I’m talking about – make the most of it!
I hadn’t considered that the cartoon character might prove to be a political ally in the healthcare arena and the ongoing debate on best use of primary care services. But sure enough, just ahead of the ‘NHS in crisis’ headlines, an article in the British Medical Journal managed to combine the two in Dr Catherine Bell’s article ‘Does Peppa Pig encourage inappropriate use of primary care resources?’
In it, the author presented a number of scenarios in which cartoon GP, Dr Brown Bear, was called upon to deliver medical care for the slightest sniffle or minor ailment – often involving a house visit – which, concluded Dr Bell, set unrealistic expectations for families who watch the show.
Whilst the tone of the article was intentionally tongue-in-cheek, it raised some serious points that are also applicable to optometry about the burden of demand for services and who best to deliver them.
Most importantly, because of the quirky approach to the subject (and the huge recognition of Peppa Pig) it got picked up by the media and got people talking.
And that can only be a good thing.
Nobody wants a three-week wait to see their GP, or their operation cancelled because the local hospital is overrun with non-urgent caseloads. The British public cherish their NHS but some could be accused of being ignorant about some of the small ways in which they personally can reduce pressure on it – and in turn receive expert help more quickly, often closer to home.
Eyecare is of course a great example of this and this March Specsavers has launched even more marketing of eye health clinics to ensure people realise the breadth of services offered on their doorstep, to help free up capacity at local GP surgeries or hospital eye departments.
But if every member of staff is not completely confident about what services we offer, how can our customers be expected to know? Posters and adverts can get people through the door or on the phone – butas ever, it is the experience they receive beyond that point that is crucial. With the aid of EOS focused training and International Glaucoma Association endorsed online packages, we’ve made sure front of house staff are confident about talking about the eye health services our optometrists offer.
Hopefully we can look forward to a future episode of Peppa Pig where Grandpa Pig visits his local optician with a sore red eye instead of unnecessarily calling on the services of Dr Brown Bear.
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