We have set up the Nightingale Collaboration to enable us to share our knowledge and experience in challenging misleading claims in healthcare advertising and to encourage anyone who is concerned at protecting the public from misinformation in healthcare promotion to join us in challenging it. Together we can work to improve the protection of the public by getting misleading claims withdrawn and those responsible held to account.
The Nightingale Collaboration will work to improve the protection of the public by ensuring that claims made in the promotion of healthcare therapies are not misleading. We will do this by:
- challenging misleading claims made by practitioners on their websites, in adverts and in their promotional and sales materials and subjecting these to scrutiny by the appropriate regulatory bodies;
- striving to ensure that organisations representing healthcare practitioners have robust codes of conduct for their members that protect the public and that these are rigorously enforced.
There are several different methods of working that can be used to achieve the Aims:
A. Nightingale Collaboration Projects: conducted by Nightingale Collaboration personnel, gathering information, planning and executing the campaign, with the support of volunteers where required. These campaigns carried out in the name of the Nightingale Collaboration.
B. Associated Projects: we collaborate with volunteers on campaigns by providing advice and guidance to ensure maximum impact and probability of success. These campaigns are publicised as being conducted in association with the Nightingale Collaboration.
C. The Nightingale Collaboration will make tools and resources available so that others can pursue their own individual campaigns with maximum effect. These campaigns are entirely separate from the Nightingale Collaboration.
There are roles for volunteers, allowing for varying levels of commitment. Volunteers are able to contribute according to their skills and whatever time commitment suits them. The Nightingale Collaboration will provide training for key volunteers to help them in their roles.
Possible tasks include:
- Locating misleading information, whether that is on the Internet, in national or local press, in local clinics, etc.
- Gathering this misleading information in a legal and diligent manner.
- Coordinating local campaigns.
- Submitting complaints to the appropriate regulatory bodies.
Tools and resources
Nightingale Collaboration has tools, resources, advice and guidance available to volunteers, some of which are also publicly available to anyone who wants to act wholly independently.
Code of Conduct
We have a Code of Conduct that all personnel and volunteers are required to abide by.
We have access to various experts who can advise us on legal matters and supply authoritative advice on scientific evidence to use in our campaigns.
The Nightingale Collaboration is run on a shoestring budget. Science writer Simon Singh provided some seed money to establish the Nightingale Collaboration, and he continues to fund us through his charity, Good Thinking. We would stress that we receive no money from any commercial companies, including pharmaceutical companies.
Directors, the Nightingale Collaboration