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European Court of Justice Case on Patient Records

27 October 2023

The European Court of Justice issued a ruling on the release of dental records in a judgement issued on 26 October 2023.  In this ruling, the Court has decreed that a patient has a right to obtain the first copy of his or her medical records free of charge.  In the ruling concerning a German patient seeking a copy of his records, the Court also decided that this right includes:

  • a full copy of the documents included in his or her medical records including data and information diagnoses, examination results, assessments by treating physicians and any treatment or inventions provided, and
  • that the patient is not obliged to provide reasons for his request.

While Section 9.6 of the Dental Council’s Code of Practice regarding Professional Behaviour and Ethical Conduct does not specifically address charging, it was generally accepted that records would be provided free of charge.  This principle has now been codified into European law.  A copy of the judgement can be viewed here.