HUNDREDS of people have signed a petition against plans to set up a new company to provide maintenance services at one of the region's biggest hospitals.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is exploring the possibility of setting up a limited liability company.

The move could impact 979 staff in the facilities and estates department, which includes cleaners, porters and maintenance technicians.

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The petition was set up by the Defend Our NHS York campaign group and has already gathered 650 signatures. The group believes if a company is set up to run the services, it would signal a step towards privatisation.

A trust spokeswoman said: "No decisions have been made, however if we choose to progress this option, then there will be full consultation with all affected staff."