The health insurance organisation (HIO) has requested more time to discuss with medical specialist companies to determine whether the referral a patient receives is urgent or not, Health Minister Popi Kanari said on Monday.

Speaking after a meeting to see how to deal with long waiting lists for appointments with specialists, Kanari said that HIO has informed that it needs more time, since it has consulted with the medical specialists on the issue of waiting lists, which will judge urgent and non-urgent cases in their own specialty.

“Some clarification is needed on what is urgent and what is not in each specialty,” she said. “These consultations are ongoing, and they will be given time to respond.”

She expressed the hope that these consultations will be completed within the next three weeks.

On prescription issues faced by patients, Kanari said that HIO is discussing with the medical specialist groups to decide what GPs can prescribe, to reduce waiting times.

At the meeting, which was attended by HIO, the state health services organisation (Okypy), the patients’ association (Osak), the Cyprus Medical Association (CyMA), and by a representative from the general practitioners, the minister said that once HIO submits their proposal the issue of the waiting list for prescriptions may be eased.

Kanari said that Okypy has taken action to give quick access to patients seeking health services to achieve a further reduction in waiting lists.

She said that these steps include, hiring a second nephrologist at Famagusta general hospital, the recruitment of a paediatric cardiologist at Archbishop Makarios III hospital, who will take up duties on December 1, 2023, the recruitment of a new paediatric nephrologist, who has already taken up duties, as well as an increase in afternoon clinics in endocrinology at Makarios hospital.