Non-clinical staff at the trust that runs Slough's Wexham Park Hospital have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action.

The results of the ballot announced today revealed that 66.7 per cent of staff returned their ballot papers and 93.6 per cent of them voted for industrial action up to and including strikes.

The ballot was held by the GMB union across Wexham Park Hospital, Heatherwood in Ascot and Frimley Park Hospital.

It marks the climax of protests against Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust management plans to transfer 1,000 staff including cleaners, caterers, houskeepers and security teams to a specially set up subsidiary company.

The management say it would be wholly owned by the NHS but staff see it as a privatisation that would give them no long term security, while threatening future standards of patient care.

The GMB union is now planning a number of 24 hour strikes with a possible continuous imposition of a work to rule. It also plans to consult with other unions to co-ordinate a wide range of actions, designed to halt the plans for the new company.

Asia Allison, GMG regional organiser said action would continue if necessary through November and Christmas into the winter pressure period.

She said: "GMB members ... desperately care for the patients they support on a daily basis. They are going to take action no matter how difficult it might be.

"Staff simply can't ignore the current forcing through of the privatisation of non-clinical services. GMB members know the proposed company will diminish the service they provide, they know it will endanger patients they look after and they certainly know they will see their own terms and conditions and pay cut.

"That's the very nature of the private sector."

The Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust has released a statement saying: "We are aware of the result of the ballot by GMB. In the event of action by the unions, our priority will be the safety of our patients – we have put in place robust contingency plans to ensure this."