Matt Hancock has backed the expansion of GP consultations via smartphone, just days after local commissioners blocked an expansion of a major digital practice citing patient safety.

The new health secretary said he is registered with the controversial but fast-growing digital first GP at Hand service.

Speaking at West Suffolk Hospital today, Mr Hancock said the service was “brilliant for me” and described negative responses to his support for the service as “instructive”.

“Some people complain that rules don’t work for care provided in this revolutionary new way, others have said the algorithms sometimes throw up errors,” he said.

“Emphatically the way forward is not to curb the technology, it’s to keep improving it. Only if we need to, [we should] change the rules so we can harness technology in a way that works for everyone, for patients and practitioners.

“I want to see more technology like this become available to all, not just a select few in a select few areas of the country.”

GP at Hand is a partnership between Babylon Health and a Fulham GP practice, which has seen huge growth in its list of registered NHS patients after it formed the partnership which offers free video consultations via smartphone.

On Tuesday, GP at Hand’s local Hammersmith and Fulham CCG objected to its expansion into Birmingham until its concerns about patient safety and other matters could be addressed.