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European Reference Networks

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 156619, tabled on 22 June 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has developed to continue the UK’s participation in the European Reference Networks after the UK leaves the EU.

Answered on

2 July 2018

The Government has noted the importance of continued collaboration with European partners in the 2017 policy paper ‘Collaboration on Science and Innovation: A Future Partnership Paper’. The paper expressly cited European Reference Networks (ERNs) as an example of collaboration that the United Kingdom and European Union should discuss in the negotiations, given the mutual benefits.

Recently, the Europe-wide ERN community and EURODIS have written to the European Commission and UK Government to “call upon the European Commission and the UK Government to ensure that a solution is found so that the UK healthcare providers can continue to participate in the ERNs and all our patients can benefit from our collaboration”. The Government’s response signalled its commitment to act in the best interest of rare diseases patients – an area of mutual interest between the UK and EU27 - in the negotiations with EU partners.