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HMPPS Employee Health - Occupational Health and Ill Health Retirement Services - Information for HMPPS employees
Occupational Health Services

Ill health retirement (Prison Service and HMPPS HQ employees)

IHR – Prison Service and HMPPS HQ employees


What you need to know

If you have frequent or continuous periods of sickness absence whilst working for HMPPS, or have specific medical conditions that means you are at high risk of injury or fatality, you will be supported by your line manager to return to work as soon as possible. Your line manager is likely to refer you to see an independent and impartial Occupational Health Practitioner from our third party supplier Optima Health (or PAM Assist for Tees and Wear prison employees). Optima Health practitioners can be qualified nurses, counsellors or doctors/physicians and will hold a face to face or telephone consultation with you. Following the consultation, they will write a report to HMPPS managers giving a medical opinion on how your medical condition impacts on your ability to attend and perform your duties at work. This report will also advise on any adjustments that could be made to enable a successful return to work.

An Occupational Health Physician (OHP) can take an initial view about whether it may be appropriate to refer you for Ill Health Retirement (IHR), based on the medical evidence available. Ill Health Retirement enables an employee to access their pension benefits early, on the grounds of ill health.

If the OHP from Optima Health advises that eligibility for Ill Health Retirement is unlikely, you can still continue with your IHR application. The line manager MUST inform you of your right to progress to IHR consideration by the Pension Scheme Medical Advisor.

If you decide that you would like to progress an IHR application, then a formal meeting to consider the options can be held in parallel to this application.

The line manager should progress the application by sending the IHR1 form – part one (available on MyCSP website) and the IHR9 declaration form to the employee for completion.

If the Optima Health OHP indicates that the employee is likely to be eligible for Ill Health Retirement the employee and their line manager must complete the application forms for Ill Health Retirement (IHR1 P1 and P2 and IHR3 forms) and send these to CS HR Casework with the relevant associated documentation.

You will then start the Ill Health Retirement process.

Ill Health Retirement Process

Following on from the OHP’s opinion that you are likely to be eligible for Ill Health Retirement, we now need to put you forward to the Civil Service Pensions Scheme Medical Advisor (SMA). The company that has responsibility for this is called Health Management Ltd (HML). HMPPS will submit all of the paperwork on your behalf and there is support for you along the way.

The Line Manager will arrange for Civil Service HR Casework advice if your case is going to be progressed to an IHR application. A case manager will be assigned to your case.

There are 3 parts to your Ill Health Retirement application. These are;

IHR 1 Part 1 form – This is for you to complete as an employee. Top Tip – it is sometimes worth completing this with your line manager in case there is anything that you don’t understand within the IHR P1. It is very important to make sure you double and triple check your pension scheme because submitting an application with the wrong pension scheme will cause significant delays.

IHR1 Part 2 form – This form is for your line manager / establishment to complete. They will also attach some supporting documentation required by the Scheme Medical Advisor.

IHR 3 form – This form is for your line manager / establishment to complete.

If your application is being made but the OHP did not recommend that you are likely to be eligible for Ill Health Retirement, the IHR9 declaration form should also be completed by you.  This form should be retained by the line manager / Governor / Head of Group so that it can be included in the SOP paperwork if IHR is granted.

Your manager will submit your application to the CS HR Casework Team who check that all of the paperwork is present. CS HR Casework then send it to Optima Health who attach additional medical information. Optima Health then send your application to Health Management Ltd who will make a decision on whether or not to grant you ill health retirement. HML work to a 65 working day service level agreement. Most cases are closed before the 65 day point. If your application exceeds 65 working days, you are welcome to raise this with your line manager, HRBP or directly with HML.

Useful Contact Details

Normally, your first point of contact will be your line manager or someone within your establishment. However, you can also contact Optima Health or Health Management Ltd about the progression of your application.

Optima Health Helpdesk for IHR application progression queries:

0330 008 5144 or HMPPS@ohassist.com
Monday to Friday between 10am to 4pm

HML Helpdesk for IHR application/appeal progression queries:


Further Guidance on Applications and Appeals:

IHR applicants whose life expectancy is less than twelve months

Line managers can seek additional guidance for (and flag up) upcoming IHR applications for employees whose life expectancy is less than twelve months.

Line managers should tick the relevant boxes on the IHR application form to indicate life expectancy which will enable the IHR application to be fast tracked. HMPPS Managers can also email Civil.Service@healthmanltd.com to make HML aware that a fast track application on the grounds of life expectancy is being made.

Ill health retirement granted

If ill health retirement is granted by the Pension Scheme Medical Advisor (HML), and the employee has already indicated a willingness to accept ill health retirement, there is no requirement for a formal meeting. Instead, a member of the Establishment or Group will contact you to arrange a personal formal meeting which can be held either at the employee’s place of work or a mutually agreed location, to discuss and seek agreement to ill health retirement.

They will discuss the forms/letters that the employee will need to complete to enable Shared Services and the Civil Service Pensions (MyCSP) team to process their Ill Health Retirement pension. You can find more information on this on the MyServices webpage.

If you have not yet indicated a willingness to accept ill health retirement, a formal meeting will still be arranged to discuss the case further.


Ill health retirement not granted

If ill health retirement is not granted by the Pension Scheme Medical Advisor, the employee will be invited to a formal meeting.

At the formal meeting, the outcome of the Pension Scheme Medical Advisor report will be discussed you will be advised of your right to appeal against the IHR decision which must be made, within three months of you being given the decision.

Please note that an appeal against an IHR decision by the Pension Scheme Medical Advisor does not prevent a decision being made to dismiss on the grounds of continuous absence or inability to resume full contractual duties following a phased return to work.

In exceptional cases (for example where you may not be eligible for ill health retirement and successfully appealed), ill health retirement can be granted after dismissal takes effect. It is the responsibility of the Governor / Head of Group to write you informing you of the IHR decision even if you have left the Service.

Any compensation paid as a result of dismissal for medical inefficiency will be adjusted accordingly if ill health retirement is subsequently granted. A declaration (IHR9 form) must be completed by the employee at the point of dismissal to agree to pay back any compensation paid if ill health retirement is subsequently granted. This is uploaded to SOP if IHR is subsequently granted.

If IHR is not granted and dismissal is a genuine consideration, the line manager must request a medical inefficiency compensation estimate by emailing CSHR Casework.

The email must include the employee’s full name, NI number, date of birth, marital status and the estimated date of leaving.

The line manager will be sent the estimate once it has been received from MyCSP.

IHR Appeal Process

An employee has 3 months, from being informed of the decision in which to appeal the Scheme Medical Advisor’s (HML) decision. Prior to the employee leaving, the line manager must ensure that the employee knows that if they wish to appeal, they should either contact the line manager informing the line manager of their decision, or the line manager should inform them at the meeting of the appeal process.  The line manager will then either need to send the employee a copy of the relevant forms or direct them to the pensions website.

The employee must complete the two forms below and send them to the Governing Governor or Head of Group who must complete part two of the APP1 form. Any new or additional medical evidence should also be submitted by the employee.

APP1 Ill health retirement appeal employee consent form (located on MyCSP website)

The Governing Governor or Head of Group will then forward the APP1 appeal form (parts 1 and 2); the entire original IHR application and a copy of the IHR outcome report to CS HR Casework.  All the above documents will be submitted to HML via Optima Health by CSHR Casework.

IHR09 – Medical Inefficiency Compensation – Employee declaration form

This should be retained by the establishment and the Governing Governor or Head of Group, will then include the IHR9 declaration form in the SOP paperwork if IHR is granted.

What happens next?

Providing the employee and Governing Governor have fully completed the APP1 appeal form and included all the relevant documentation, CS HR Casework will send the appeal paperwork to Optima Health who will process it with the Scheme Medical Advisor (HML).

Any incomplete forms will be returned unactioned.

There are three stages to the appeal process:

Stage 1

This is initiated when the employee has submitted the above forms. However, the employee may wish to supply NEW medical evidence from their GP and/or Specialist with their application.

The employee may be invited to a consultation with the Scheme Medical Advisor and will receive a letter to confirm the appointment details.

The employee will also receive an outcome letter at the conclusion of this stage of the appeal process from HML.

The line manager will inform the employee of next steps.

Stage 2

The employee will move to Stage 2 automatically following the conclusion of stage 1. However, the appeal will not progress at stage 2 unless NEW medical evidence is provided from the GP and/or Specialist within three months of the notification that stage 1 is complete. (The employee will not be required to do this if this was provided by them at Stage 1).

The employee will also receive an outcome letter from HML at the conclusion of this stage of the appeal process.

The line manager will inform the employee of next steps if appropriate.

Stage 3

This stage will progress if the Scheme Medical Advisor believes that the case should be reviewed by an independent medical board.

The employee may be invited to attend the board in person. They will also receive an outcome letter at the conclusion of this stage.

At each stage of the appeal process, the Scheme Medical Advisor will write to the employee with the outcome and how to progress if applicable.

If the Appeal is successful, the Scheme Medical Advisor will progress the employee’s Ill Health Retirement with the MyCivilServicePensions team.


Ill Health Retirement applications the Civil Service Partnership Pension Scheme Members

For members of the Civil Service “Partnership” pension scheme applying for Ill Health Retirement, the IHR2 Form (available from the Civil Service Pension website) should be used.


HMPS Ill Health Retirement – Simplified end to end process flow and top tips for managers

Useful contacts


Prison Officer’s Association

The Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers
Cronin House
245 Church Street
N9 9HW

Telephone: 020 8803 0255

Alba House
21 Calder Road
EH11 3PF

Telephone: 0131 443 8105

North Regional Office
1 Linden House
Sardinia Street
LS10 1BH

Telephone: 0113 2428833

If you have a Membership enquiry please use the email address below.


If you have a general enquiry please use the email address below.

Email: general@poauk.org.uk



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