Hunt suggests NHS could pay to sort out damp in people's homes

Updated: 

Jeremy Hunt has said he can see a future where the NHS is sorting out damp in people's homes.

The Health Secretary was discussing the role of the NHS in preventing ill health as he set down new funding for plans to "transform" care around the country.

He said: "We know there's very strong links between poor housing and poor health.

"I can see a world in five years' time where the NHS is paying to sort out the damp in someone's council house because they can see that would improve their health and that would save money for the NHS in the long run."

He quipped that NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, who was sat next to him at the King's Fund briefing in central London, was "looking very worried" by his comments.

Mr Stevens joked in response: "With our growing budgets ...", which was met with laughter.

Mr Hunt and Mr Stevens have announced £325 million of investment for local projects in 15 regions of England.

This includes beefing up urgent care in Dorset and creating a new cancer centre in Cumbria.