Beyond Brexit: cross-border collaborations in midwifery education with the Florence Network

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


In June 2016 the United Kingdom’s (UK) European Union (EU) referendum resulted in 51.9% of the electorate voting to leave. Leaving the EU will have wide ranging social, legal and constitutional implications including, but not limited to, trade, business and financial services, employment, transport, immigration, police and justice, health, higher education (Miller, 2016). In relation to health, the EU has a significant role in supplementing national policies and whilst the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) has established the international standards for midwifery education; education and practice are regulated in the EU through the European Directive 2005/36/EC which includes the recognition of professional qualifications allowing free movement to practise anywhere within the EU. In relation to higher education, the UK is a full member of The Bologna Process/European Higher Education Area (EHEA) (1999), where members aim to increase compatibility between education and training systems across the EU to promote high quality learning and teaching and facilitate free movement of students, researchers and teachers across Europe. At an institutional level, The Florence Network is one of Europe's oldest nursing and midwifery networks with a membership of 40 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in 17 European countries with the shared vision of identifying and developing educational, scientific, practice and pedagogical commonalities to promote mobility between countries and institutions. The University of Northampton was invited to join the Network in 2017, with its inaugural meeting taking place in Bern, Switzerland being attended by Julie Quilter (Senior Lecturer/Programme Lead) and Hollie Townley (second year student midwife) (The University of Northampton, 2017). Whilst there is uncertainty around the future political landscape post Brexit, it is important that pre-existing professional links, providing a platform for international collaboration for professional discourse, dissemination of research findings and sharing of best practice are protected and strengthened.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Midwifery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2018


  • Brexit
  • pre-registration midwifery education
  • The Florence Network
  • EU Directives


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