On Wednesday 28th, RD-ACTION invited a representative from each of the proposed ERNs to join members of the Board of MS in a ‘pre-workshop’ meeting. This was the first occasion for these two essential stakeholder groups to come together in this way and discuss their most pressing issues relating to the implementation and evolution of the Networks. The meeting was attended by 14 representatives from 12 Member States and 19 Applicant Networks Coordinators (ANCs). The meeting focused discussions around two main topics:
- Geographical membership coverage of the ERNs and means of ‘affiliation’ to the Networks. The discussions clarified the rules for future membership of the Networks, and the participants agreed the importance of gaining greater clarity of the timelines and process by which MS will designate centres as ‘affiliated’ partners to participate in an ERN, thus ensuring that countries (especially the smaller countries) which do not have -and are perhaps unlikely to have in the future- a member in a given ERN nonetheless have a ‘hub’/‘gateway’ to access and contribute to the expertise of that particular ERN.
- Integration of ERNs with national health systems. The participants emphasised the potential for ERNs to, in time, bring about major innovation in health systems, functioning as true game changers in terms of equity of access across Europe to high quality care for patients whose conditions require a particular concentration of expertise. The challenges and opportunities on the sides of the ANCs and the Board members were shared in lively debate.
The Report of this meeting, including participant list, is now available: report-of-meeting-between-applicant-network-coordinators-and-board-of-member-states-of-erns-28-9-16-final