NHS announces Clare Panniker as new Regional Director for East of England

NHS England and NHS Improvement have today appointed Clare Panniker as the new Regional Director for the East of England.

A former nurse who has spent over 30 years working in the NHS, Clare will join the regional team from Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, where she has been chief executive since the Trust formed in April 2020.

Clare has worked in the NHS in Essex for ten years in a range of roles including Chief Executive of Basildon Hospital, and then subsequently Mid Essex Hospitals and Southend Hospital. She also mentors other aspiring NHS leaders from both clinical and management backgrounds, is the Chair of the NHS Employers Policy Board, a Governor of Anglia Ruskin University and a trustee of the NHS Retirement Fellowship.

Clare takes over from Dr Sean O’Kelly, who has been covering the role following the retirement of Ann Radmore last month.

Clare said: “It has without question been a challenging time for the NHS over the last few years and it has been a real privilege working with my colleagues at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

“Having created the new Trust, and then navigated the significant impact of COVID-19 as one of the largest Trusts in the country, the time is right for me to take on a new challenge and I am keen to deliver on key priorities for the NHS including those in routine care, cancer, mental health, primary care and many more.

“I have worked in Essex for ten years, and the role of Regional Director for the East of England offers a unique opportunity to help develop our Integrated Care Systems and to focus on how we can improve the provision of healthcare and outcomes for the region. As part of NHS England’s national executive team I look forward to influencing future policy and strategy for the East of England”.

NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “I am delighted that Clare will be joining the NHS England executive team in the summer.

“As the NHS now works hard to rebuild and recover services following the impact of Covid-19, Clare’s decades of frontline and leadership experience – and most importantly her commitment to delivering the best possible services and outcomes for patients – will be a huge asset not just to Integrated Care Systems in the East of England, but across the country too”.

Chief Operating Officer for the NHS Sir David Sloman said: “It is fantastic news that Clare Panniker will be taking up the important role of the regional director for the East of England. Her experience and leadership will be vital as the NHS looks to recover services as well as deliver on its Long Term Plan.

“I’d also like to thank Sean for his clinical leadership during the pandemic, at what has been one of the most difficult and pressured times for the NHS in its history”.

Clare will start her new role later in the summer.

Clare Panniker biography

Clare Panniker is Chief Executive of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust formed on 1 April 2020 following the merger of Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust, Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Prior to joining Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital in 2012, Clare was Chief Executive of North Middlesex University Hospital for nine years.

A former nurse, Clare has a business degree and has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years. She also mentors other aspiring NHS leaders, from both clinical and management backgrounds.

Additionally, Clare is Chair of the NHS Employers Policy Board and a Governor of Anglia Ruskin University.