Here's a press release I issued today...
North Norfolk Conservative Candidate Iain Dale announced today he had won a pledge from the Shadow Cabinet to re-open Wells Hospital if the Conservatives win the General Election, expected on May 5th.
Iain Dale said: "Our Health Manifesto commits us to keeping community hospitals like Wells open. I have had discussions with our Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who I have kept up to date with the situation at Wells, and he has told me that under a Conservative Government Wells Hospital would be safe. I am delighted to be the bearer of good news and I want to reassure the local community of what our plans would be. This is a major step forward and I hope it will be welcomed by everyone. A lot of people have spent a lot of time campaigning to keep the hospital open, although it is now clear that the North Norfolk PCT has made up its mind that it cannot reopen as a Community Hospital. I pay tribute to Peter Rainsford and his team who have kept the issue in the public eye. Cottage hospitals are vital for our local rural communities and I am delighted by the Conservative pledge to keep Community hospitals at the centre of our National Health Service.
"Tomorrow I shall be in Wells talking to local people about the hospital and our announcement and I look forward to my debate with the Labour candidate next Thursday at Wells Community Centre (7pm) when he will have the opportunity to match the Conservative pledge. I want to make clear that this announcement is not some sort of political gimmick - hospitals are too important for that. I've made my support for Wells Hospital clear right from the start and have been working with my colleagues in Westminster to achieve what I am announcing today. I hope it demonstartes my ability to influence the debate and get things done and I hope the people of Wells will find reassurance in what we are announcing."