W.04.02 Paracetamol (Panadol)

W.04.02.01 Unit storage of Panadol

Watch Point

Panadol is a general sales medicine that is not restricted or classified in any regulatory schedule and can be lawfully sold in any retail outlet without a prescription.

Panadol can cause ongoing health issues if over used and recommended dosage and timeframes are not followed.

  1. Panadol supply for a unit area is to be securely stored to ensure access is restricted to relevant custodial and health staff. This safeguards the reconciliation process of Panadol stock.
  2. Staff are to ensure Corrections Health Services are advised when Panadol stocks need to be replenished.


    Corrections health staff will work with custodial staff to ensure there is an adequate supply of Panadol in the unit and complete regular stock take of the supply.

    If there are discrepancies between the stock left, Panadol issued and the totals on the Panadol log sheet, this will be reported by health staff to the unit PCO.

  3. The unit PCO / Residential Manager will be responsible to put mitigation in place to address any discrepancies / non-compliance with the recording of Panadol provided to prisoners.

W.04.02.02 Tasks for staff before providing Panadol to prisoners

  1. The officer in charge of the shift (OIC) is responsible for ensuring staff complete the correct processes regarding managing requests for Panadol from prisoners.
  2. When a prisoner requests to be provided Panadol, custodial staff must always complete the following checks:
    1. check the Panadol log sheet to ensure the prisoner has not received Panadol within the last 4 hours and has not exceeded the maximum dosage of 8 Panadol in the last 24 hours
    2. if the prisoner has no record of being previously provided Panadol in the unit, for prisoner safety staff are to check IOMS Alerts to ensure the prisoner has no health alert relating to Panadol or other health related reasons why the prisoner must not be provided Panadol
    3. if there are health reasons present that determine the prisoner must not be provided Panadol record this information for staff to refer to when providing Panadol (on the unit muster board (or similar) as a visual reference)
    4. check relevant health information relating to prisoners received by units via HS 5-1-1 Prisoner Health Status Advice form regarding Panadol use is to be included in the unit staff reference material
    5. regular checks regarding health alerts and received HS 5-1-1 forms are to be completed for prisoners when Panadol is requested and staff reference material updated, as a prisoner’s health circumstances can change frequently and often.
Watch Point

It is important custodial staff complete the required checks and correctly record the provision of Panadol to prisoners as exceeding the recommended dose / timeframe can lead to health problems.

If a prisoner receives 3 doses of Panadol in a 24-hour period custodial staff must notify their Corrections Health Services team via email to trigger the need for health staff to assess the prisoner to determine if any further healthcare intervention is required.

  1. When staff have determined it is safe to provide Panadol to the prisoner:
    1. staff must record providing Panadol to the prisoner in W.04.01.Form.01 Panadol log sheet
    2. staff are to document the date, time and reason the prisoner requests medication
    3. staff are to obtain the required number of Panadol from the secure storage for provision to the prisoner
    4. staff are to sign and provide tag number on W.04.01.Form.01 Panadol log sheet, once they have provided the Panadol to the prisoner.
  2. Staff may only provide 2 tablets to a prisoner at a time.

Health staff will monitor the Panadol log sheets and email notifications from units to assess prisoner use and identify any follow up treatment that may be required for specific prisoners.

W.04.02.03 Providing Panadol to prisoners


W.04.02.Res.01 Prisoner notice – requesting and being given Panadol is to be displayed on unit noticeboards to ensure prisoners are aware of the requirements when requesting Panadol from custodial staff.

Watch Point

If a prisoner can be given Panadol staff are to follow the ‘RIGHTS’:

RIGHT prisoner – RIGHT medicine – RIGHT dose – RIGHT time – RIGHT Consumption – RIGHT Documentation.

Refer to W.04.02.Res.02 Providing Medication (Panadol)

  1. When providing Panadol, for prisoner and staff safety:
    1. staff must ensure their hands are clean / sanitised when handling and providing Panadol
    2. prisoner should present with a cup of water for ingesting the Panadol
    3. staff are to open the blister pack in front of the prisoner who requested it, emptying the tablet(s) into the prisoners hand (when unlocked)
    4. if providing Panadol when a prisoner is ‘locked’, staff can provide the closed Panadol blister pack to the prisoner and the prisoner must open the blister pack, remove the tablets and return the empty packaging to staff
    5. prisoners are required to swallow the Panadol in front of the staff member who provides it
    6. If the prisoner refuses or cannot be viewed ingesting the Panadol with water this must be noted on the Panadol log sheet for both custodial and health staff information as this may impact subsequent requests for Panadol.

Staff ensuring Panadol is ingested when provided to a prisoner minimises opportunity for diverting or ‘hoarding’ medicine for possible misuse.

If a prisoner refuses to follow the Panadol provision requirements for their safety, staff can decide to not provide the Panadol and note on the log sheet the reason why.

Watch Point

Staff must not carry Panadol stock in their pockets as this provides opportunities for not following the process, missed recording of the required safety checks and who Panadol has been provided to.

W.04.02.04 Staff use of Prisoner Panadol

  1. Only prisoners are permitted to use prisoner Panadol stock supplied by corrections health staff.