ABC and Anne Connolly trolling for ‘bad news’ is ‘contemptible’

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Last Friday at 10.29 AM the ABC’s Anne Connolly sent out an email calling on the families of aged care recipients and aged care staff to inform her of anything they have experienced or they ‘have heard about’.​

The feedback from the sector is that people are appalled.

To be ‘trolling’ for disruptive information at a time when all staff in aged care are under unprecedented stress, struggling to have adequate staff for the basics, to protect residents, to protect staff and keep the doors open as costs sky rocket and revenue plummets. As one critic told us, the ABC is contemptible.

Why, at this time wouldn’t the ABC be seeking to support aged care operators like it did with rural fire fighters, which they gave themselves great accolades?

Why, if they are doing balanced research would they not comprehend the human struggle taking place in the 3,000 aged care homes, 120,000 private homes where increasingly frail people are waiting on home care services to be delivered and fearful of infection – or the service not being delivered? And what of the 850,000 people receiving community care in a time of isolation – and the people who leave their families to deliver these services?

That research would also deliver any one of a number of videos being delivered by aged care leaders across the country, plainly explaining the raw challenges they face.

We put forward this example by Suzanne Dvorak, also posted last Friday. As MD of Bupa Villages and Aged Care, she has about 9,000 residents and 9,000 staff to ‘care’ for. (Operators of one facility have the same ratio). Everyone at the ABC should view it.

Now is not the time to be ‘taking down’ aged care; it is the time to be recognising the remarkable work that is done 24/7. Surely this is the role of our national, publicly funded, broadcaster.

If a ‘quality’ job was done here perhaps the ABC journalists would win another Human Rights award, to match the award for their last Four Corners program. But that may require genuine research and balance.