Scheme Medical Adviser - Coronavirus/COVID-19 update for employers

This is an important message for employers, regarding the processes of the Scheme Medical Adviser during the Coronavirus pandemic.

As a result of the Coronavirus, the Scheme Medical Adviser (SMA) has advised that it has put contingency plans in place to ensure minimal disruption to services. This includes working from home for clinical and SMA administration teams.

Due to the unprecedented demands on the NHS, there may be delays in processing applications, especially where it has not been possible to obtain information from GPs and specialists. Additional delays may also occur if Government Legislation is introduced that redirects healthcare providers to assist NHS activities.

Frequently asked questions

The SMA has prepared the following FAQs and answers regarding activities carried out by them during the Coronavirus pandemic.

If you have questions on the changes to processes, please contact cspsemployerenquiries@cabinetoffice.gov.uk

Q. Can I still send in paper applications?

A. The SMA is unable to receive any paperwork at the moment as they do not have access to their offices. As a result, you will need to submit applications to the SMA electronically via the portal or via a secure file transfer protocol. To register for the portal, email Health Management Limited who will send instructions. If you are unable to access the portal, please contact Health Management Limited at south.06@healthmanltd.com

To help with this, we have enabled the following SMA applications to be completed without the need to print off:

IHR1 – Medical Retirement Application form (opens in a new window)

EPPA1 – Deferred member claim for (opens in a new window)

Q. Which services have been impacted?

A. As mentioned above, paper applications will no longer be accepted, due to home working.

Members should continue to complete the relevant application form, found on the Employer Forms page, including details of their GP and any relevant treating specialist.

In order to process their application promptly, where possible, any relevant medical information the member holds, such as copies of out-patient clinic letters, or copies of investigations like x-rays and/or scans should be included in their application. In addition, if the member is currently under the care of a GP or specialist medical expert, they should ask their doctor to complete the medical section of their application.

Given the unprecedented demands on the NHS at this time, delays may be experienced as the SMA may be unable to receive reports from either the GP or specialist medical experts. Please request that members ensure as much supporting information is provided upfront to minimise the volume of information required from GPs or specialist medical experts.

We have amended the application forms to obtain the GP or specialist medical expert's email address, which will allow the SMA to request any further medical evidence needed.

Should a response not be provided to the SMA for the further medical evidence, there may be a need to request that the member requests on the SMA's behalf.

In the current circumstances, it is not essential to send the SMA the ‘Medical in Confidence’ from your occupational health provider. However, they still require copies of all reports provided to management, within the last 12 months, from the occupational health provider.

Face-to-face consultations are no longer taking place and consultations will now be delivered via the telephone for the foreseeable future.

Q. Do we have any additional steps we need to take?

The onus is already on the employer to obtain consent from the member to allow the SMA to process the case as well as request any further medical evidence when required.

Given there is no wet signature being provided, we have made this clearer on the form that you have verified that consent has been granted by the member.

Q. How will medical determinations be provided?

A. Depending on how the application was sent in, the outcome will either be provided on the portal, or via the secure file transfer protocol.