Intended for healthcare professionals


“Health care is a human right” is a meaningless and devastating manifesto

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 26 June 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1766
  1. Imre J P Loefler, Editor, Nairobi Hospital Proceedings (
  1. Nairobi Hospital, PO Box 47964, Nairobi, Kenya

    EDITOR—“Health care is a human right,” declares the Tavistock Group.1 If the group accepts the World Health Organisation's definition of health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being” then the demand that the provision of such a state be recognised as a human right will have little meaning.

    If the Tavistock Group has an alternative definition of health then it should say so. As long as we are uncertain what the word denotes, “health care” remains a nebulous entity. Whatever the …

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