Wexham Park Hospital could be facing strike action as anger grows over planned changes that could affect the working lives of 1,000 porters, housekeeping, cleaning, security and catering staff.

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 - a move seen by some staff and their union the GMB as privatising their jobs.

Staff demonstrated outside the hospital last month carrying protest banners - they say that the hospital management has failed to answer crucial questions about their wages, pensions and working conditions.

This week Gary Palmer, GMB regional organiser, revealed that the situation had worsened.

He said that more demonstrations would be happening - at Wexham Park and at Heatherwood. One will also be held at Frimley Park Hospital - Wexham Park and Heatherwood are part of the Frimley NHS Foundation Trust.

A consultative ballot is now being held by the union giving members until August 29 to state their views and Mr Palmer warns it could be the first stage towards industrial action.

He said: "Staff have been left feeling that everything about this behind the scenes stinks of possible duplicity. The lack of engagement and openness over what is a really unnecessary detrimental act towards non clinical services does nothing to dismiss the real concerns of those delivering such a great service day in day.

"The GMB Union is not going away and the battle to save non clinical service has just begun. We will use every tool at our disposal to protect members jobs from privatisation.”

The trust has put out a statement insisting that setting up a subsidiary company would not represent a 'privatisation'. It would be completely owned by the trust.

It stated: "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."