On 1 January 2022, 620 new members will join the European Reference Networks, as unanimously approved by the ERN Board of Member States. As a result of the current call there will be nearly 1,500 ERN units in 27 Member States and Norway. This milestone enlargement extends the geographical scope of the ERNs, and the possibility of patients with rare and low prevalence as well as complex diseases and conditions to access highly specialised healthcare.
The new 620 healthcare units will join the Networks in 24 EU Member States and Norway (except Bulgaria, Malta and Luxembourg). The highest number of new applicants – 43 – have been accepted to ERN RITA – the European Reference Network that aims to improve the care of patients with Rare Immunological Disorders. 38 new applicants will join EURACAN – the ERN that connects patients who have rare adult solid cancers, and 36 applicants will join ERN EuroBloodNet – the ERN in Rare Hematological Diseases (RHD). The highest number of healthcare units is going to join the ERNs in Italy (145), Germany (84) and Spain (68), and the lowest in Latvia and Slovenia (4), Estonia (3) and Cyprus (2). Greece joins as a new country to have healthcare units in the ERNs – with 18 units.
The ERNs system is an innovative model of virtual healthcare and collaboration. It successfully brings together the most specialised centres (now nearly 1,500 healthcare units) across the EU to speed up diagnosis, improve standards of care and generate knowledge and new evidence for patients living with rare or low prevalence and complex diseases, working according to the principle that it should be knowledge that travels, not the patient.
In 2017, when the ERNs were established, nearly 900 healthcare units joined 24 European Reference Networks.
More information: Overview | Public Health (europa.eu)