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Abbott backs hospital staff increase

Gillard announces funding for 2000 new emergency nurses if re-elected.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has welcomed Labor's plan for more staff in hospital emergency departments but questions its delivery.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday committed a re-elected Labor government to funding 2000 new emergency nurses during the next decade and providing 1000 student nurses with "vital experience" in emergency departments.

"Obviously it's good," Abbott said.

"But typically of this government it seems the bureaucrats start work immediately but the doctors and nurses are going to take years to actually go into the system.

"It's typical of this government that nothing starts now."

Gillard's announcement includes a commitment to the training of outer suburban and rural doctors to help GPs maintain their emergency medicine skills.

Initially insisting it was new money, the prime minister has clarified the 96 million dollar program is part of Labor's promised seven billion dollars for healthcare reforms.


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