Rehabilitation is a process of active change by which a person who is disabled acquires and uses the knowledge and skills necessary for optimal physical, psychological and social function. Rehabilitation medicine is now established in Britain as a specialty concerned primarily with three groups: 1) those with multiple disability; 2) disabled people undergoing personal or social transitions, for example, school leavers; and 3) those with disabilities requiring complex technical or medical solutions. Rehabilitation medicine is distinguished from traditional clinical neurology by its emphasis on teamwork and on the analysis and reduction of disability rather than the diagnosis and treatment of impairment. Both neurology and rehabilitation medicine are dwarfed by the size of the problems they are expected to overcome and there is no justification for competition between the two specialties. The training of neurologists requires fundamental changes if they are to be equipped to assist rehabilitation effectively and contribute to the scientific development of the subject.