European Reference Networks (ERNs) are virtual networks involving healthcare providers across Europe.
They aim to tackle complex or rare diseases and conditions that require highly specialised treatment and concentrated knowledge and resources.
Health systems in the European Union aim to provide high-quality, cost-effective care.
This is particularly difficult with rare or low-prevalence complex diseases or conditions. Between 5 000 and 8 000 rare diseases affect the daily lives of around 30 million people in the EU.
The first ERNs were launched in March 2017, involving more than 900 highly-specialised healthcare units from over 300 hospitals in 26 Member States. 24 ERNs are working on a range of thematic issues including bone disorders, childhood cancer and immunodeficiency.
BOARD OF MEMBER STATES
The ERN initiative is mainly driven by the EU Member States.
The Board of Member states is the formal body in charge of the approval and termination of networks and memberships as provided in the Commission’s Implementing Decision. The Board is comprised of representatives of the 28 EU Members States and the EEA countries.