The expansion of the current European Reference Networks (ERNs) is fully underway through the addition of Affiliated Partners and the recent call for new full members. Four of the Affiliated Partners are National Coordination Hubs (based in Malta, Luxembourg, Hungary, and Slovenia). These hubs are being created in countries with a population below the EU average where a single hospital will act as a conduit to a number of, or even all, the 24 ERNs.
To help support these new members, Michelle Battye (eUROGEN Centre Manager), Darren Shilhan (eUROGEN Lead IT & Data Analyst) and Lorena Casareto (ERN BOND Project Manager) travelled to Mater Dei Hospital (MDH) in Malta for meetings on 28 November on behalf of the ERNs. The meeting was arranged in coordination with James Clark, the official representative for MDH for the ERNs and Miriam Dalmas, the Board of Member States representative for Malta.
The focus of the day was to, firstly, explain the philosophy and aims behind the creation of the ERNs, and, secondly, to introduce the Clinical Patient Management System (CPMS) and how it can be utilised for virtual case discussions to the Maltese clinicians. The presentations were well received and generated a fair amount of interest and discussion.
The visitors were very impressed with Mater Dei Hospital and the friendliness of the welcome they received. Furthermore, it was incredibly beneficial to be able to meet with Maltese colleagues face-to-face, to get to know them and be able to answer the many questions they had about the ERN programme.
Visits to the other National Coordination Hubs will be arranged in the near future in collaboration with representatives from the other ERNs.