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Catholic Health says Labor falls short on meeting the cost of care


While supporting the direction of Labor's plan for aged care released in Melbourne at the weekend, Catholic Health Australia is skeptical about whether the real cost of care would be met.

"The funds allocated generally fall short of the mark and will not be available, in some cases, until the next election year," said CHA Chief Executive Officer Francis Sullivan. "[But] the capital loans program and grants for respite care represent a significant improvement and should help accelerate the capacity of the sector to take pressure off hospitals and family carers."

Mr Sullivan expressed the view that pressures on the system to care for increasingly frail and sick residents will not be managed until there is an annual increase in the Commonwealth Care Subsidies of $70 million. CHA has consistently called for both major parties to instigate this policy.

"Labor's funding to improve wages and conditions is a start but falls well short of removing the burden in the work place and helping aged care homes attract new staff," he said. "One hundred million dollars a year is needed, not $100 million over four years."

CHA has pressured the main parties for a new benchmark of care for the frail elderly, but says that failing to deliver this outcome until close to the next election is "more cynical than helpful".

Mr Sullivan said Labor should at the very least accelerate their $52 million allocation to alleviate the pressures on care early in their first term not at the end. Other proposals in the Plan, he said, rely on the cooperation of the states and the Commonwealth, and the track record so far "doesn't inspire confidence".

He called on the Coalition parties to not only match Labor's direction, but to meet the real cost of care.

SOURCE
CHA


15-Oct-01