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A rally outside Dunedin Hospital this morning was necessarily a silent protest: the picketers were all cardboard cut-outs.
The figures represented staff the Public Service Association believed should have been hired by Southern District Health Board, but their positions remained unfilled due to budget restrictions.
Health board budgeting priorities meant replacing medical staff took precedence, union organiser Julie Morton said. With no funding remaining, allied staff who worked alongside the medical professionals were then not being replaced.
''We are about 70 less of these allied health professionals than we were in 2012, and that will only get worse because the DHB is not recruiting for those positions,'' Mrs Morton said.
- Mike Houlahan