Finance Minister Makis Keravnos hinted on Friday he would not be greenlighting the Health Insurance Organisation’s (HIO) request for 50 new job openings, saying the focus should be on improving productivity rather than expanding the workforce.

Speaking to the state broadcaster, Keravnos said the national healthcare system (Gesy) continues to be inundated with complaints over quality of care, raising issues with both the state health services (Okypy) and the HIO.

“This point alone shows a lot needs to be regulated.”

Commenting on the fact that Hio appears to be at a standstill over its budget, after its request to the finance ministry for another 50 jobs to be approved has not been greenlighted, Keravnos hinted it wasn’t likely to be rubberstamped either.

“There’s something in Cyprus called productivity, effectiveness, better organisation and we should keep this in mind.”

The finance minister stressed he was ready to meet with the HIO but noted “productivity in Cyprus is low” and this should be a core concern.

So far, the HIO has not sent a revised budget, saying that without the 50 new positions, it is short staffed.

Last month, the HIO said it needed more time to cut waiting lists, particularly for specialist appointments.