Andrew Panniker drafted in as ‘hospital construction specialist’

The man who led the construction of the temporary covid-19 hospital at London ExCel has been brought in to provide advice on the construction of a new hospital in Essex.

The Princess Alexandra hospital in Harlow was one of six hospitals to be handed a share of £2.7bn in September 2019 as part of the first wave of the government’s health infrastructure plan.

NHS Nightingale Excel - Fully Equipped Bed Wards

The hospital at the ExCeL had an initial capacity for 500 patients

Andrew Panniker, who is the director of estates at the Royal Free Hospital and managing director of its subsidiary RFL Property Services, has been brought in to provide advice on the project.

Michael Meredith, director of strategy and estates at the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Andrew Panniker is an independent advisor to our board. His role is to provide board members with independent technical support and guidance as we progress our new hospital programme.

“Andrew is engaged through Royal Free Property Services and is not a member of our Trust.”

According to James Hepburn, BDP’s lead architect on the Nightingale project, Panniker was the man in charge of the scheme.

Speaking to Building last year he said: “Unknown to me, he [Panniker] and Matt [Shaw, chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital] had had a meeting at the ExCeL with the Army.

“He said could we help? I made a few phone calls to pull together some architects and engineers and we all turned up at the ExCeL on Monday morning to meet Andrew and Matt, not knowing what to expect.”

Panniker was previously director of environment at Homerton University Hospital NHS trust for nine years.