Staff at Airedale Hospital are drawing attention to the risks posed by malnutrition for hospital patients and vulnerable people in their own homes.

As part of a campaign, dieticians and colleagues working with older people are promoting the third national Nutrition and Hydration Week, organised by Patient Safety First, which started on Monday.

One of the schemes Airedale uses to support people who may require help with eating is a red tray system.

When meals are served, staff can easily identify people who may require help by looking out for a red tray and providing rapid assistance.

Nick Bergin, nutrition support dietician at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “At any point in time, more than three million people in the UK are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

“There are many reasons why people become malnourished – it can be anything from swallowing problems, nausea or vomiting, pain or infections or simply a loss of appetite.

“It’s our job, when people are admitted to hospital, to assess their nutritional needs and liaise with the catering team to boost their calorie intake and help them get better as quickly as possible.

“When patients go home, relatives and carers can help by encouraging them to eat smaller portions more regularly as well as eating snacks with higher calories.”