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GP Staff Newsletter Quarter 3 – 2023/2024

Please note this newsletter is provided to practice managers/payroll admins/finance managers responsible for administering the pension scheme rules to the practice staff within GP practices/federations.

It is intended to advise and remind practices of procedures for this process and should not be given to the practice staff themselves.

The HSC Pension Service will distribute a relevant member newsletter that should be given to staff.

This newsletter contains information about :

  • Phase 2 Contribution Consultation
  • New GP1 Incorporating GP55A 24/25
  • New Starters & Leavers
  • Annual Benefit Statements for Practice Staff (ABS23)
  • Email Distribution
  • Focus On – Ill Health Retirement
  • Contact Us

A downloadable/printable version of this information can be found here.

  • Phase 2 Contributions

    Consultation of the phase 2 contributions is currently ongoing.

    Phase 2 is due to start in April 2024, the exact date is still to be confirmed, upon completion of the consultation.

    Employer contributions are also due to increase from April 2024 to 23.2%.

    If any GP practice or federation employer has any queries on this, they should email marked FAO GP Admin Team.

  • New GP1 Incorporating GP55A 24/25

    Work has started on creating the new GP1 Incorporating GP55A form for the next year starting April 2024

    Feedback from practices over the last year has provided valuable information on fixes and improvements to the form to allow for a smoother completion process for the practices.

    Practices should be aware that from April 24, the part time hours worked for a part time member of staff is required to be entered into the form. This brings the practices in line with the HSCNI Trusts, who have been reporting part time hours monthly for many years. This new requirement may require a change to your payroll software, depending on how it reports your pensionable data each month.

    We would welcome any more suggestions and comments to help improve this form so that it can become even more beneficial to practices moving forward—any suggestions can be sent to marked FAO GP Admin Team.

  • New Starters and Leavers

    When a member starts pensionable employment with an employer, we require a J2 form to start their record. J2 form can be found here: J2 form

    If a member leaves the pension scheme within your employment, we require a T55A form to confirm Pensionable details. T55A form can be found here: T55A form
    Please note if a member leaves the pension scheme within your practice, and comes back, either within a few weeks or even a year, we still need the T55A form to end the old period of pensionable employment and a new J2 form to start the new period of pensionable employment.

    Please note that we should receive these forms before the year end GP55A form is submitted.

    The member should also be given a new line on the GP1 incorporating GP55A form if they return within the same year.

    The aforementioned forms can all be found in our  Scheme Forms section. 

  • Annual Benefit Statements for Practice Staff (ABS23)

    As a reminder, the ABS23 statements are now ready for members where the below criteria are satisfied.

    Where the GP55A 22/23 form has been received and verified as correct, the information has now been uploaded to individual staff records and the Annual Benefit Statement 2023 (ABS23), for
    each active scheme member has been produced.

    The ABS23 is available on Member Self Service (MSS) and all staff should now have registered for this service. Staff should not use generic email accounts to access MSS. All HSC employees should have their own personal email accounts ending in Practice managers should encourage staff to contact BSO IT at: so that a HSCNI email account can be set up, following this they can then complete their registration for MSS by clicking here.

    Where the Annual GP55A form has been received after the regulatory deadline of 31st May 2023, or where an outstanding query on an earlier submission has been raised but remains unanswered the ABS23 is not guaranteed to have been produced as part of our ABS23 process for active scheme members. HSC Pension Service staff will refer any queries from these members back to the practice manager. Subsequent production of the ABS23 is therefore likely to be delayed.

    Practices should direct members to Login – Altair Member Self-Service ( for members to log in and access their Member Self Service dashboard. Practices should direct new members to Sign Up – Altair Member Self-Service ( for them to sign up to the service.

    Please note that members cannot sign up to Member Self Service until we have received and processed their J2 form. This can take up to 8 weeks after the practice submits the J2 form.

  • Email Distribution

    We email the practice managers regarding important information on the pension scheme and any updates and to query monthly returns. We generally use the practice manager email address from the global address list – this ensures that if a practice manager is off on leave or on an unforeseen absence that the email is still being sent to the practice manager account. If you are using a personal email address with an extension at your practice such as we would request that you also check the generic practice manager email account such as This reduces queries regarding your remittance advice especially following adjustments in any month.

    We currently manage 3 generic email accounts in addition to our own personal email accounts. The generic inboxes enable us to receipt submissions and help us to manage work flows and ensure that no emails for routine pension issues are being unanswered when team members are out of office for temporary or prolonged periods.

  • Reminders

    We are seeing an increasing amount of missing information on a regular basis. Please note the following reminders:

    • When a member joins the scheme, please send a J2 form within the payroll period—it will be processed within 8 weeks.
    • When a member opts out of the scheme—they must complete a SD502 opt out form.
    • If the member was part of the scheme and left for any reason, please send a T55a immediately—it will be processed within a week.
    • GP1s need to be submitted by the 6th of each month—this date never changes unless the 6th is a weekend/bank holiday.
  • Focus On - Ill Health Retirement

    Ill health retirement is an option that can be explored for staff who are no longer capable of carrying out their normal duties.

    It can be offered as an alternative to termination of contract/redundancy.

    To claim full ill health benefits, as outlined below, members must remain active in the scheme when they apply. This means that they remain an employee of the employer, either on full, reduced, SSP or nil pay. If you terminate the members employment, they are no longer eligible for ill health as an active member, and will need to apply for deferred ill health.

    To qualify for ill-health retirement benefits you must:

    • Retire from pensionable employment because of illness or injury, and
    • Be permanently incapable of efficiently carrying out the duties of your employment because of illness or injury – Tier 1 pension, or
    • Be permanently incapable of engaging in regular employment of like duration because of the illness or injury – Tier 2 pension.

    Tier 1 Pension

    If you are assessed as being unable to carry out the duties of your own employment you will be entitled to the early payment of the retirement benefits you have earned to date without any reduction.

    Tier 2 Pension

    If you are assessed as being unable to do regular employment of like duration, you will be entitled to the retirement benefits you have earned to date in addition to an enhancement on your;

    • CARE scheme benefits based on 50 % of your prospective membership up to reaching the Scheme’s Normal Benefit Age

    Deferred Ill Health

    Members can apply for deferred ill health if they are no longer active in the scheme. To qualify for deferred ill health, members must satisfy the conditions of tier 2 ill health, but will only be awarded tier 1 benefits.

    There are a number of steps to the application process. The first step however should only be carried out after discussions between the employer, the member and medical consultants/ OHS services. Once all of this has been discussed, and ill health agreed to be
    the best course to take, we follow the below;

    1. Apply for ill health using form AW33 – should contain all details of health & reports from doctors/consultants or other health professionals involved with the members treatment/diagnosis. This form is sent to
    2. Evidence sent to independent OHS provider by HSC Pensions to make qualified medical decision.
    3. If approved, member applies for benefits with AW6 – choosing ill health
    4. Application processed in line with decision and current processes.

    A member cannot apply for an ill health estimate without having an ill health application (AW33) submitted to the HSC Pension Scheme.

    The ill health application is a long process, members should be made aware there will be a wait time, while this wait time is currently reducing in recent months, it can still take a number of months from first applying for Ill health, to receiving an application outcome.

    Each and every Ill health case is different, Employers can therefore contact our team for guidance on this process. We will provide as much information as possible.

  • Arrangements over the Christmas period

    Please note HSC Pension Service will be closed over the Christmas period on the following dates:
    25th December
    26th December

    Phones are off on 27th December, but emails will be answered 1st January

    The practitioner team would like to take this opportunity to convey our appreciation for your ongoing support and co-operation over the last year. We wish you all a safe and Happy Christmas period and we look forward to working with you again in 2024.

  • Contact Us

    By writing to us at:-
    HSC Pension Service
    Waterside House
    75 Duke Street
    BT47 6FP
    Via e- mail at:-
    By Telephone: 028 7131 9111 Option 3
    10.00 am to 12.00pm / 2.00 pm to 4.00pm – Monday to Thursday
    10.00 am to 12.00pm – Friday

    Find us on Twitter – @hscpensions
    Find us on Facebook – HSC Pension Service


    If you have any suggestions for the newsletter or would like a particular topic covered in future publications please do not hesitate in contacting us by emailing: