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Catholic Health critical of 'half-measure' Coalition aged care package The announcement of an aged care package by the Prime Minister eases the burden of caring for residents in aged care homes, but leaves the elderly on public hospital waiting lists stranded, according to Catholic Health Australia CEO Francis Sullivan. "The Coalition promise of an extra $200 million to meet wage and care costs is a significant and welcome initiative," he said. "It will ease the burden of care." CHA has estimated that $70 million a year is needed to meet the real costs of care in nursing homes and hostels. It says a foreshadowed enquiry will demonstrate that the Coalition's commitment is short by $20 million a year. "It is disappointing that there was no mention of fixing the log jam when elderly patients cannot be discharged from hospital due to a lack of suitable accommodation or rehabilitation services," Mr Sullivan said. "We need imaginative solutions to these pressing issues." He said there is a "glaring omission" of any reference to the plight of low income elderly people who have no other recourse than to wait on public hospital lists. CHA recently suggested the introduction of a Medicare Grey Card. The Commonwealth would pay for patients to use the private sector and thus shorten the length of time they wait for hospital treatment. LINKS