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Public Health (26-05-2014)

Commission gets the ball rolling on European Reference Networks

The Cross-border Healthcare Directive (2011/24/EU) gives the Commission the mandate to support Member States in developing European Reference Networks (ERNs) between healthcare providers and centres of expertise in EU countries. By connecting highly qualified health professionals from across the EU, the aim of setting up ERNs is to advance highly specialised healthcare and provide a concentration of knowledge and resources for the benefit of patients, especially in areas where resources are scarce, such as complex, low prevalence or rare conditions.

Tomorrow, two Decisions concerning the setting up of ERNs will enter into force:

1) A delegated Decision (2014/286/EU) which sets out criteria and conditions to be fulfilled by Networks and healthcare providers wishing to join an ERN. See Decision:

2) An implementing Decision (2014/287/EU) which sets out criteria for establishing and evaluating ERNs and their members, and for facilitating exchange of information, and expertise on establishing and evaluating the Networks. See Decision:

On 23 June, the Commission is organising a conference on the ERNs in Brussels, bringing together highly specialised healthcare providers, experts, national authorities, decision–makers, and independent bodies with experience in the assessment and evaluation of healthcare providers. The aim of the conference is to discuss the organisation of ERNs in accordance with the Decisions mentioned above, and the next steps in the deployment process, in preparation for the forthcoming call for European Reference Networks in 2015. More information on this conference is available here: