MP spends week working in care home

Duncan Baker MP (second from right) with staff and residents at Abbottswood Lodge care home in Swanton Abbott. 

Duncan Baker MP (second from right) with staff and residents at Abbottswood Lodge care home in Swanton Abbott. - Credit: Supplied by Duncan Baker

The Houses Of Parliament gave way to a care home as the workplace for North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker. 

The 42-year-old spent four full working days last week at Abbottswood Lodge in Swanton Abbott, joining the team which cares for 18 residents with special needs or learning disabilities such as Down's syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Helping residents get out of bed, making them drinks, playing cards and games, taking them on walks around the grounds and joining them on excursions away from the home were some of his daily tasks. 

Mr Baker said: "I wanted to learn as much as possible about what the care sector goes through and understand the pressures carers have. They have so much responsibility. The people they are caring for  - some of whom are non verbal - are 100pc reliant on their carers. 

A scene from Abbottswood Lodge care home, where Duncan Baker spent a week as part of the care team. 

A scene from Abbottswood Lodge care home, where Duncan Baker spent a week as part of the care team. - Credit: Supplied by Duncan Baker

"In just a short time we were able to take people out for a coffee morning in Swanton Abbott, to a garden centre in North Walsham. You build an incredible bond, it's like a little family within a family. Next week I'll go back to parliament and it will be really sad not to be with them."

Mr Baker said entertaining the residents was a large part of the job - joining them for drawing or colouring in, filling out word searches, playing snooker and taking photos with one resident who loves photography. 

"A lot of it is helping them have some structure to their day," he said. "It's a wonderful care home and they have a really vibrant set of activities."

A scene from Abbottswood Lodge care home, where Duncan Baker spent a week as part of the care team. 

A scene from Abbottswood Lodge care home, where Duncan Baker spent a week as part of the care team. - Credit: Supplied by Duncan Baker

Mr Baker said he wanted to volunteer at a care home so he could talk with more experience and authority about the care sector when he returns to parliament.   

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He said he now planned to write to Sajid Javid, secretary of state for health and social care, to outline his experience. 

Mr Baker said: "I want to see that the new health and social care levy makes its way down to the care workers and improves their conditions and pay, and they get the rewards they deserve."