Hundreds fewer GP surgeries open evenings and weekends, Labour claims

Labour claims 600 fewer surgeries are open on evenings and weekends.

Almost 600 fewer GP surgeries are offering extended opening hours than they were in 2009, Labour has claimed as it unveils its latest campaign poster: "The doctor can't see you now".

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham will claim today that coalition budget cuts had reduced funding from £3.01 per patient to £1.90 per patient, forcing the number of surgeries open at evenings and weekends to fall from 77 per cent to 72 per cent.

But Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has accused Labour of using inaccurate figures, pointing to the Prime Minister's Challenge Fund which he said covered 1,100 practices and 7.5 million patients.

The poster - a play on the Conservatives' infamous "Labour isn't working" poster of 1978 - shows a long queue of people trailing outside a waiting room sign, with the tagline: "The Tories have made it harder to see a GP".

Labour's new poster is a take on an idea by the Tories more than 30 years ago Credit: Conservatives, 1978

It comes after Conservative leader David Cameron promoted a policy of seven-day GP care.

Today, across the country, people will face the frustration of joining a queue to see their GP - in some places the lines will go out of the surgery door.

Andy Burnham, Labour
Labour says it is now harder to get a GP appointment than it was in 2009 Credit: PA

Jeremy Hunt said the Tories planned to extend the Prime Minister's Challenge Fund to cover 1,400 extra GP surgeries, helping 10 million more people, by April next year.

Labour's figures are wrong.

Jeremy Hunt, Conservative

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats said Labour's figures were "out of date", and reiterated their campaign promise to spend an extra £8 billion on the NHS.

[This is] almost three times the extra funding Labour is promising.

Lord Scriven, Liberal Democrats