In an electric power system, switchgear is the combination of electrical disconnect switches, fuses or circuit breakers used to control, protect and isolate electrical equipment. Switchgear is used both to de-energize equipment to allow work to be done and to clear faults downstream. This type of equipment is directly linked to the reliability of the electricity supply. For Example MCB at our home or Circuit Breaker in substation or Isolator in Switch yard can be termed as Switchgears.
Whereas distribution panels means they are the cupboard style physical structure which may or may not contain switchgears but it divides the entire input or output network into different elements. For example assume there is one 11Kv input from X location then for further distribution we would split this supply into sections for providing supply to area A and B. Distribution panels is generally the cabinet from where power received from transmission lines is divided into different parts for local supply.