South African Journal of Psychiatry

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Psychiatric impairment and disability assessment — proposals to improve current inadequacies

Pieter Coetzer, Andre Botha, Dick Huyser


Impairment and disability assessment on psychiatric grounds has always been subjective, controversial and at best, a difficult task. The South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) needs to be congratulated, firstly on being instrumental in the publication of the first ‘Guidelines to the Management of Disability Claims on Psychiatric Grounds’1 in 1996, and secondly on following this up with an improved and revised version in May 2002.2 These guidelines have gone a long way towards improving the standards of report writing, increasing objectivity in the assessment process, and improving fairness and reasonableness of the outcomes.

However, it is apparent that certain areas still need to be brought to the attention of many psychiatrists. These are discussed below.
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