The European Commission is to soon launch a new call for membership to join the existing European Reference Networks (ERNs).
First launched in March 2017, there are currently 24 ERNs covering all major rare diseases including bone disorders, childhood cancer and immunodeficiency. Together, they include 956 highly specialised healthcare units from 313 hospitals located in 26 countries (25 European Union Member States plus Norway).
Each of the networks has a coordinator and all 24 are gathered within the ERN Coordinators group (ERN-CG) establishing a common ground on several key technical and organisational aspects of the networks' activities.
To review a patient’s diagnosis and treatment, ERN coordinators convene ‘virtual’ advisory panels of medical specialists across different disciplines, using a dedicated IT platform and telemedicine tools.
Last month, the European Commission adopted a new Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/1269 of 26 July 2019, which, among other things, aims to clarify the role of the Board of Member States in steering the ERNs and modify the procedure concerning the application for membership of existing ERNs. It says, once this enters into force, it will launch the first call for new members to join existing 24 ERNs.