Anxious staff demonstrated outside Wexham Park Hospital yesterday - in a mass display of unhappiness over plans to 'privatise' their jobs.

The trust that runs Wexham Park in Slough and its sister hospital Heatherwood in Ascot is planning to set up a subsidiary company to take over non-clinical services.

Union's uproar over hospital staff 'privatisation' plan at Wexham Park and Heatherwood hospitals

It insists it would not represent a ‘privatisation’ as the new company would be wholly owned by the trust and long term service contracts would be agreed with staff.

The GMB union is fiercely opposed and staff carrying protest banners outside the hospital for two hours at lunchtime were enthusiastically hooted by passing drivers during their protest.

Jackie Hodges from the catering team was one of the protesters.

She said: "We have been kept in the dark about this.

"We had meetings but nobody could answer our questions - the management did not seem to know the answers.

"We don't know if our wages will go down or what will happen to our pensions.

"I have been here 16 years. I work on the surgical side of things, making sure people get the right food when they are recovering. I love coming in to work and always try to put a smile on patients' faces.

"We take pride in the NHS."

Her colleague Mohamed El Amine Sedoud works in Accident and Emergency, making sure people do not become dehydrated and get food they need if they are kept a long time.

He said: "I believe we do a great job as a team. I don't want to see the patients get a service that is not as good."

Wexham Park and Heatherwood are part of the Frimley Park Hospital Trust which is planning the change.

It has pointed out that a great number of NHS trusts around the country have already successfully established their own wholly owned subsidiary companies.

It said in a statement: "It would not be privatisation as the company would be 100 per cent owned by the trust and a long-term service contract would be agreed.

"Any savings made will be reinvested back into the NHS. Staff currently employed by the trust would transfer to the new company on the same employment terms and conditions."