this is bbc news. i'm clive myrie. the headlines at 11:00: the health secretary indicates the guarantee that all patients who attend a&e will be seen within four—hours, could be scrapped. it is clear we need to have an honest discussion with the public about the purpose of a and e departments. with the public about the purpose of a&e departments. martin mcguinness, northern ireland's deputy first minister has resigned, leaving the devolved government in crisis. theresa may outlines plans to try and transform society's attitudes to mental health. on newsnight, can the prime minister defined her legacy? how was theresa may's received? defined her legacy? how was theresa may's received 7 we defined her legacy? how was theresa may's received? we will tell you. good evening and welcome to bbc news.
the health secretary jeremy hunt has indicated that a key nhs performance target could be scrapped. he told mps that the guarantee that all hospital a&e patients be seen within four hours might only apply in future to those in need of urgent care and not to those with minor problems. mr hunt said there needed to be an honest discussion with the public about the purpose of a&e departments. our health editor hugh pym has the latest. whatever the intense pressure on the nhs there's a commitment for hospitals to assess or treat almost all patients within four hours of arriving at a&e. but at a time when the service in england is creaking under the strain that's been thrown into doubt. secretary jeremy hunt. the health secretaryjeremy hunt surprised mps by claiming that people going to a&e without good reason were undermining the target. it is clear we need to have an honest discussion with the public about the purpose above stomach with the public about the purpose
of a&e departments. there is nowhere else outside the uk that commits to all patients that we will sort out any health need within four hours. with nhs england estimating that nearly a third of people using a&e don't need to be there mr hunt hinted the four our target could be restricted. if we are going to protect our four—hour standard it needs to be made clear we will sort out urgent health problems within four hours but not all health problems, however minor. labour argued this could mean a vital pledged to patients was being watered down. is he now really telling patients that rather than trying to hit the four— hour target the government is now in fact rewriting and downgrading its? the government is now in fact rewriting and downgrading it? if so, does nhs england support this move? part of the government's thinking is to try to stop people going to a&e in the first place
if they are not seriously ill. medical leaders say there has been tried for years without success. despite all that educational attempts for the last 20 years attendances have only risen. i think what we need is better designed systems and education to send patients away, unfortunately from a historical perspective, not going to work. the four hour waiting time targets in a&e is 95% of patients should be treated in that time. anything above the black line so shows the target anything above the black line shows the target in england being missed. it has been happening consistently in the last couple of years. the latest debate over targets comes days after the red cross said there was a humanitarian crisis in the nhs and social care, a claim rejected by the government. mr hunt's comments have caused some confusion tonight. the department of health has stressed there are no plans to drop the four hour waiting time target but it has left open the possibility of alterations.
it's hard to see, though, how changing the target system will make any difference to the underlying realities. patient numbers rising faster than available resources and hospitals under extreme pressure. hugh pym, bbc news. the prime minister acknowledged the pressures on the nhs today when she set out some of her priorities for the year ahead. in her first policy speech of 2017, theresa may set out measures to improve mental health services in england. she said she wanted government to play its part in creating what she called "a shared society". labour says she's confronting the effects of six years of her own party's policies. our political editor laura kuenssberg reports. six months since she walked into the famous street. six months since she's been your prime minister. but piecing together what theresa may really stands for isn't always easy. but today she made clear she believes for millions life doesn't feel fair and her government can be part of the answer.
when you see others prospering while you are not. when you try to raise your concerns but they fall on deaf ears. when you feel your very identity, all that you hold dear is under threat. resentments grow. whose fault was that? her predecessor's? for we know what happens when mainstream centre ground politics fails. people embrace the fringe. the politics of division and despair. they turn to those who offer easy answers, who claim to understand people's problems and always know what and who to blame. so our responsibility is great. it is to show that mainstream centre ground politics can deliver the change people need. a plain attempt to appeal to middle england. in common with her former boss. but david cameron's dream of a big society is gone. a new slogan, is it a vision? in its place.
the shared society is one that doesn't just value our individual rights but focuses rather more on the responsibilities we have to one another. it's a society that respects the bonds that we share, as a union of people and nations. the bonds of family, community, citizenship and strong institutions. and government will step up to support and, where necessary, enforce the responsibilities we have to each other as citizens. but although there were promises of more help for housing in weeks to come, controversial plans for schools, the only new commitments today were for mental health in england. made with passion but no extra taxpayers' cash. for too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country. shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health.
yet, left unaddressed it destroys lives, separates people from each other, and deepens the divisions within our society. but as with all prime ministers, whatever they say on the steps here or anywhere else quickly rubs up with reality. but theresa may has an extra dilemma. as she starts to manage the most complicated project any leader has faced in decades, there is a risk her government becomes simply consumed with how we leave the european union and her political enemies say her words ring hollow. if only we could believe that she actually meant it. she's been part of a government now for the last six years which has cut back on public expenditure, particularly savaged the nhs. and she's making the speeches about shared society with a backdrop of people literally dying on trolleys waiting for care in our hospitals. so i think there is a credibility gap here. it's only six months, but those days of summer already seem long ago. few prime ministers
in the end choose how they're remembered. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, westminster. jenny edwards is chief executive of the mental health foundation which focusses on prevention and early intervention in mental health. she was in the audience for theresa may's speech this morning, and it was welcome news that mental health was so high on the political agenda. there is no doubt that when a leader says something is important to them, everybody else starts paying attention and for too long it has been spoken about at not at it on. she did that it was a first step and she did focus on the things affecting mental health which are not just about services at about the world in which we leave dasha our schools, homes, workplaces, digital world. there is at bat, of course,
which is this is a fair stab at the change is only going to help if the promises are implemented. five out of ten so far. 0k, promises are implemented. five out of ten so far. ok, that's not to bad. she talked about mental health training in school, suicide prevention, community—based healthcare but the suggestion is that 350 more child and adolescent psychiatrist and needed, a thousand more psychiatrist, more mental health nurses social workers and so on. you are going to want to know over the coming weeks and months are coming from? it is important that services are properly served by people who have been properly trained and that there are enough of
them and that is vital and there are pressures , them and that is vital and there are pressures, as we have heard, with physical health services that are going to be competing and the answer cannot be to cut back on mental health which has been the history so far. but if we only focused on services and prices, their crisis services and prices, their crisis services are not going to be enough because there are not enough resources to make that work. we have to step in far earlier and understand that anxiety, depression, comes from the circumstances people are in, particularly for our young children and young people. if we do not support them when they are in crisis we could damage potentially the rest of their lives. northern ireland is in political crisis tonight after the shock resignation of martin mcguinness, sinn fein‘s deputy first minister. under the power sharing agreement, this automatically means that the first minister arlene foster, of the democratic unionist party, can no longer stay in her role.
she said she was disappointed by the decision and claimed mr mcguinness was acting out of politics, not principle. as our correspondent nicholas witchell reports northern ireland now faces the prospect of a snap election. it was the most improbable of alliances. the party which was the political face of the provisional ira sitting down and working with the party of hardline unionism then led by the reverend ian paisley. yet for ten years the power—sharing government at stormont has brought peace stability to northern ireland. now it is on the brink of collapse and ostensibly it's all over heating scheme. martin mcguinness, the ira man who turned to politics and became deputy first minister, is in very poor health. he's had enough of what he calls the arrogance of deep democratic unionists. i have tendered my resignation effective from five o'clock today. i believe now is the time to call a halt to the dup's arrogance. so, what is it that
threatens to wreck a decade of political progress? it's something called the renewable heat incentive scheme. suffice it to say it's likely to cost the northern ireland taxpayer £500 million more than expected. the minister who set up the scheme was arlene foster. now dup leader and first minister of northern ireland. tonight, via social media, she responded to mr mcguinness's departure. i am, of course, disappointed martin mcguinness has chosen to take the position he has today. his actions have meant that at precisely the time when we need our government is to be active we will have no government. martin mcguinness's resignation by possibly brings to an end the career of a man who was once a committed and active republican paramilitary. in the 1970s he was second in command of the ira in derry. can you say whether the bombing
is likely to stop in the near future in response to any public demand? well, we will always take on the considerations and feelings of people of derry and these feelings will be passed on to the hq in dublin. the man who helped to lead the ira to violence ultimately help to bring northern ireland to peace. he recognised that there could never be a so—called military victory in northern ireland and something that had seemed inconceivable became a reality. republicans and unionists found that they could work together. martin mcguinness and ian paisley got on so well they were nicknamed the chuckle brothers. but in recent times the atmosphere has soured. there have been disagreements on a number of issues. now the way forward is uncertain. under the power—sharing system the first and deputy first ministers have to work together. if one resigns the other cannot continue. in effect, the political institutions have collapsed.
for year after year many people here in northern ireland and elsewhere have marvelled at what political leaders here have achieved in the past decade. those achievements are in jeopardy now and it's not, as might have been expected, over a constitutional issue or a security crisis, it's over a heating scheme. political leaders here have overcome so many problems. but if they cannot find a solution to this in the next seven days, there will have to be elections to a new northern ireland assembly. nicholas witchell, bbc news, belfast. millions of commuters have had a difficult start to the week, after a strike on the london underground shut down most of the network. members of two unions staged a 24—hour walk—out in protest atjob cuts and the closure of ticket offices. the walkout ended at 6 o'clock this evening. transport for london says normal service is expected by tomorrow morning. now it's time for newsnight with emily maitlis.
the prime minister takes a wrong turn, drives down a cul—de—sac and has to do a u—turn, could happen to anyone really. six months into thejob, is she still on track? tonight we ask if theresa may can be anything more than the brexit prime minister. can she construct a credible programme of social justice, of the kind she wants? we have a once in a generation chance to step back and ask ourselves what kind of country we want to be. we'll ask those who've had some tensions with their own leaders, here in the studio. also tonight, this woman's overdosing on heroin, but she won't die because her friends have to hand a drug called naloxone. british addicts who od face a much harsher path.