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Successful hospitals urged to form ‘chains’, stroke patient failings and how dogs can sniff out cancer

Our round-up of health news headlines on Thursday 18 August.

The Times (paywall) reports on research suggesting that the best NHS hospitals should be encouraged to set up 'chains' by taking over poor performing trusts. 

The report, published by accountants KPMG, is co-authored by  the firm's head of global health, Mark Britnell, a member of David Cameron's  'kitchen cabinet' advisory panel of health policy experts. He said: 'We could be on the cusp of major hospital chains that will improve quality for patients and reduce costs for the taxpayer.'

Stroke patients are not getting the vital care they need for saving their lives, reports the Daily Telegraph. Only 33% of those treated at NHS hospitals after a stroke received a brain scan within an hour, according to an audit by the Royal College of Physicians. Only 52% were given clot-busting drugs when eligible for it, and 53% were seen by a therapist within 24 hours. Just 55% were taken directly to a dedicated stroke unit or admitted within four hours.

Although young people are normally advised about the dangers of unprotected sex before they jet off on holiday, it would appear that middle-aged people might need this advice more than their younger counterparts. A survey reported in the Daily Telegraph found that more than 15% of the over-50s polled admitted having unprotected sexual intercourse, compared to fewer than 5% of those in their twenties. England's Chief Medical Offer, Prof Dame Sally Davies said: 'Whatever your age, always wear a condom.'

The saying a dog is a man's best friend, could take on a whole new meaning, after researchers found that dogs can be trained to identify the scent of lung cancer. According to the Daily Mail, the canine skill in detecting smells could be used for the early detection of the disease. Researchers from Germany now want to identify the chemical compounds the dogs can smell so that they can develop a device to help diagnose lung cancer at an earlier stage.

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