In the coming weeks, the European Commission will launch the first call for new healthcare providers (HCPs) to join the existing 24 European Reference Networks (ERNs) as full members. Initial details are on the EC’s website and full details of the launch of the call will be announced soon.
It is important for any existing Affiliated Partners who wish to remain in their current ERNs to apply during this call, as once a Full Member is appointed in a Member State that did not previously have one, any other Affiliated Partnerships in that state will be terminated.
Created under the 2011 Directive on Patient Rights’ in Cross-Border Healthcare, European Reference Networks (ERNs) are cross-border networks bringing together centres of expertise and reference centres of European hospitals to tackle rare or low prevalence and complex diseases and conditions that require highly specialised healthcare. ERNs enable specialists in Europe to share learnings and discuss complex patient cases, providing advice on the most appropriate diagnosis and the best treatment. A key principle of ERNs is to let the knowledge travel rather than the patient leading to economies of scale and more efficient use of costly resources.
24 ERNs covering all major rare disease groups were launched in March 2017, including 956 highly specialised healthcare units from 313 hospitals located in 26 countries (25 EU Member States plus Norway). Each Network has a Coordinator and the 24 of them are gathered within the ERN Coordinators group (ERN-CG) establishing common ground on several key technical and organisational aspects of the Networks’ activities.
eUROGEN is the ERN for patients with rare urogenital diseases and complex conditions needing highly specialised surgery, and comprises of 29 Full Members and 13 Affiliated Partners in 16 Member States.
How to apply:
The membership application process will involve several steps:
- Review the information on the Commission webpage which includes the current framework, the legislative proposal and many frequently asked questions (FAQ);
- Contact your national representatives in the ERN Board of MS. They will provide you with more specific information on the national endorsement process;
- Fill in the application and self-assessment in the online tool that will be published with the call;
- Include all required documents that are specified in the online tool and in the assessment manual that will be published soon;
Information that the applicant will have to review will include:
- Applicable legislation;
- The scope of the diseases and thresholds established for each Network;
- Information provided by the Networks on their websites;
- Assessment manual and tool-kit (to be published);
- Information how to fill out the application and self-assessment in the online tool (to be published).