ERN Exchange Programme Newsletter and VASCERN Update!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting travel restrictions, the ERN Exchange Programme has had a little difficulty in picking up speed, despite the many exchange proposals that have been planned and pre-approved for our network.

The ERN Exchange Programme is designed to share knowledge and stimulate collaboration between healthcare professionals in the European Reference Networks (ERNs).

Currently we have 16 exchanges planned that have been sent to Ecorys and have received pre-approval from the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA). Of those, three exchanges (two from the HHT WG and one from the PPL WG) had their the Mobility Agreement documents signed and were planned for December 2021.

Unfortunately, due to the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and the steep rise in infection rates, the implementation of the Exchange Programme has been suspended until the situation improves. 

We hope that the Programme activities will be able to resume as of March 1st, 2022 onwards – but this is to be confirmed with the European Commission based on the outlook in February. The three visits in December as well as any other visits already planned for the winter period (1 Dec 2021 – 28 Feb 2022) have therefore been postponed until the reactivation of the programme. 

As a reminder, VASCERN was allocated 44 exchange packages and they have been divided equally between our 5 Rare Disease Working Groups at the moment, with lots of interest from all. If you have a proposal for an ERN exchange visit, please contact Natasha Barr at natasha.barr@aphp.fr.

For an update on the current state of affairs (pre-suspension announcement) as well as some examples of different modalities of exchanges developed by the other ERNs, you can read the latest ERN Exchange Programme Newsletter here.

It includes several testimonials from healthcare professionals that have already participated in an ERN exchange, including participants of an ERN Skin exchange to visit Professor Maya El Hachem and Dr. Andrea Diociaiuti (equally members of VASCERN’s VASCA WG) in Rome in order to improve their theoretical and practical knowledge about the different types of Epidermolysis Bullosa.

We look forward to sharing the news of our first exchanges in December and to many more in 2022!

For a list of frequently-asked questions on the ERN Exchange Programme, please refer to the FAQ document here.

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