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.

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."