First Conference on European Reference Networks sheds light on the future of ERNs

ENERCA participated in the meeting presentig its over 10 years of experience

July 18, 2014

At the invitation of the European Commission, a Conference on European Reference Networks (ERNs) was held on 23rd June 2014 in Brussels. The conference aimed to discuss the organisation of specialised networks across the EU and examine the next steps of the deployment process, in preparation of the forthcoming call for European Reference Networks in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The conference gathered 340 participants from 29 countries who represented national public health authorities, as well as experts who coordinated past collaborative networks and patient organisation representatives. Participants expected to gain a clearer understanding of the type of ERN to propose in order to prepare for the first call in 2015. 

The future ERNs will consist of networks of healthcare centres expected to collaborate without a specific allocated budget to support their networking activity. These networks will be quite different from the network models funded in the past in the field of rare diseases. The selected ERNs will have to support their budget through other sources to be identified and some questions remain unsolved. For example, as pointed by Orphanews, the Commission indicated that networks should include all diseases within a therapeutic area which may be difficult to reconcile with the very concept of highly specialised health care. 

Prof. Joan Lluis Vives Corrons, coordinator of the ENERCA network at IDIBAPS – Hospital Clínic de Barcelona – Universitat de Barcelona, presented the achievements of the network during the last 10 years and the challenges of the new phase of the project, e-ENERCA. Although to date, no ERN of the new type exists, Prof. Joan Lluis Vives Corrons underlined the pioneering structure of the ENERCA network which has already been working for a decade based on principles similar to those which inspire the new ERNs. 

The whole Conference is available Online. The ENERCA presentation, is available at the “Evening” session video around minute 86 (1h 26min). The morning session displays by default. It is necessary to reach the end of the first video or unfold the video menu to access the “Afternoon” and “Evening” videos. The ENERCA PPT presentation is also available.

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