PDSA…plan, do study, act….What a load of sh*t

When you become a consultant surgeon you seem to very quickly get bored (within 5 years) and need a sideline. This can be private practice (lucrative and enjoyable), royal college stuff (prestigious and enjoyable), academia and research (allegedly enjoyable for some, not lucrative, moderately prestigious), NHS management (allegedly enjoyable, some extra cash) or you become a complete asshole.

Becoming an asshole means you start using acronyms like the one above. It’s the current buzz in groups like the institute for healthcare improvement. It isn’t really a new idea, it’s been around for a while now, but we should all be glad we can get on with improving healthcare now that we have a less tricky name for doing a fucking audit.

To help you make sure that you ask the right people about your audit, sorry, PDSA methodology research project, there is the easy to remember “9 C’s”


I have no idea what they are talking about. The 9 C’s don’t roll as easily over the tongue as “oh, oh, oh to touch and feel a virgin girls vagina ah heaven” does for the cranial nerves (olfactory, optic, occulomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducens, facial, vestibular, glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory, hypoglossal). And anybody who uses the word brainstorm after 1992 should expect to be laughed at.

All over Bighospital in the last few weeks posters have been appearing featuring management’s latest ideas for saving money, using less staff and using cheaper equipment (and thus improving care) based not on boring old audit with it’s inherent problem of closing the loop; reauditing the change and confirming the effectiveness of the intervention, but on PDSA.

The other PDSA I am familiar with is the People’s Dispensary for a Sick Animals, a charity that cares for bewildered donkeys and the such like. Next time I am asked to do a PDSA cycle I am going to do 150k,
get sponsorship from all my colleagues and give the money to the donkey sanctuary. That will quite possibly be the most useful PDSA cycle Bighospital has ever seen.




2 thoughts on “PDSA…plan, do study, act….What a load of sh*t

  1. So true. To think, they actually pay wages to people whose job is to come up with this shit, and to publish colorful posters about it, then to hold ‘seminars’ to shove it down our throats. People who have nooooo idea what healthcare at the frontline is about!

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