Priorities of the year, objectives pursued and expected results:
The Directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare ()requires the Commission to support Member States in the development of European Reference Networks (ERN). ERN are groups of highly specialised providers across the EU, institutionally approved – following a transparent and formal selection procedure – to perform in an exclusive way the goals and task established in the Commission Delegated Decision 2014/286/EU ()and the Commission Implementing Decision 2014/287/EU (). ERNs are addressing a group of highly specialised and complex diseases and treatments.
By pooling knowledge and expertise across the EU, ERNs will facilitate access to diagnosis, treatment and provision of affordable, high quality and cost-effective healthcare contributing to the economy of scale and the sustainability and efficiency of the healthcare systems in the EU.
Setting up an ERN implies a complex work in which the clinician and scientific community have to reach an agreement in a common approach and this bottom up solid proposal is the origin of all Networks. Only national authorities of Member States have the capacity to endorse their providers to participate in an ERN. That implies a legal recognition to the capacity to address the group of diseases an ERN will deal with.
An ERN has to fulfil a list of basic requirements which are listed in the Commission Delegated and Implementing Decisions. Expected benefits to patients and healthcare systems are improvements in services delivery, working systems, patient pathways, clinical tools, earlier adoption of scientific evidence, etc.
The objective of this call is to provide financial support to ERNs, once established. Therefore, only approved ERNs are eligible for co-funding.
Description of the activities to be funded under a call for proposals:
The actions to be funded are coordination, management and non-clinical activities of an approved ERN. Co-funding will be provided in the form of mono-beneficiary grants to the ERN Coordinator to run the ERN and implement all actions in order to fulfil the goals as provided for in the legal basis on ERNs: (i) each ERN shall provide highly specialised healthcare for rare or low prevalence complex diseases or conditions; (ii) have a clear governance and coordination structure; (iii) have knowledge and expertise to diagnose, follow up and manage patients with evidence of good outcomes; (iv) follow a multi-disciplinary approach; (v) offer a high level of expertise and have the capacity to produce good practice guidelines and to implement outcome measures and quality control; (vi) make a contribution to research; (vii) organise teaching and training activities; and (viii) collaborate closely with other centres of expertise and networks at national and international level.
Implementation by the Agency, First semester of 2016.