Letters

New Zealand priority criteria project

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7096.1765b (Published 14 June 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1765

We suspect that many readers will not know–as we didn't–that the terms “impairment,” “disability,” and “handicap” have specific meanings, defined by the World Health Organisation. Impairment is defined as “any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function”; disability as “any restriction or lack of ability (resulting from an impairment) to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being”; and handicap as “a disadvantage for a given individual, resulting from an impairment or disability, that limits or prevents the fulfilment of a role (depending on age, sex, and social and cultural factors) for that individual” (defined in 1980). Not realising these definitions, we had adopted a style that took note of …

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