US President Donald Trump has triggered another extraordinary spat with Theresa May’s Government after claiming the NHS was “going broke and not working”.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister was “proud” of the NHS and its funding was “at a record high”.

The UK’s Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt also hit back by attacking the US system which leaves millions without adequate health cover. The US president said “thousands of people are marching” in the UK because of concerns about the state of the NHS.

“The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!” he tweeted.

Hunt responded with a tweet of his own, saying no-one protesting about the state of the NHS wanted a US-style system.

“NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage – where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance,” he said.

The US president’s comments were also condemned by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the organisers of the pro-NHS demonstration highlighted by Trump.

The president’s comments came shortly after former Ukip leader Nigel Farage appeared on one of Trump’s favourite US TV news shows to talk about the NHS.

Farage’s appearance on Fox and Friends appeared to prompt Trump’s Twitter comment.

In a follow-up message, the president thanked the show for “exposing the truth”.

Trump’s social media messages came after a crowd of thousands chanting “Save the NHS” descended on Downing Street on Saturday to demand more funding for the health service. The demonstration, called NHS In Crisis: Fix It Now, was organised by the People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together.

Responding to Trump’s comments the groups said they were campaigning against moves towards an “expensive, inefficient and unjust” US-style system.

In a message to the president the groups said: “This is what our demonstration was about on Saturday February 3 and tens of thousands of British people want to show their love for the principles of universal and comprehensive care free at the point of use, paid for through general taxation.

“We don’t agree with your divisive and incorrect rhetoric. No thanks.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Trump was “wrong” and people were marching because “we love our NHS and hate what the Tories are doing to it”.

The public row is the latest controversy in Trump’s relationship with the UK ahead of his visit later this year which is expected to be marked by mass protests.

He had previously caused consternation in Whitehall when he announced on Twitter he would not be attending the opening of the new US embassy in London, saying it was a “bad deal” and he did not like the location of the new building.

It led to speculation he was unhappy after being rebuked by May for retweeting videos posted by the far-right Britain First group.

However, following talks with May in Davos, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to the “special relationship” with the UK.