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18 June 2024 Media Release: Let’s work together to keep healthy and safe this winter

Media Release: Let’s work together to keep healthy and safe this winter

For immediate release
18 June 2024

The Western Cape Department of Health is prioritising the health and safety of all patients during this cold season.  With winter upon us, many people are navigating healthcare facilities visits amidst cold and wet conditions. While winter brings its own set of challenges, we want to ensure that your visit to your local clinic is safe and comfortable.

Healthcare facilities across the province have appointment systems in place to ensure that you can cut down on longer waiting times and arrive at least 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the arrangement with your facility).

Director for Garden and Central Karoo districts, Mr Zee Brickles, encourages residents to make use of the appointment system and to reach out to local facility managers if they have any concerns.

“It’s important that we prioritise the safety and well-being of all people visiting our health facilities, especially our elderly and other vulnerable groups during winter in cold weather.

We ask that you only arrive within the time frame stipulated by your facility and appointment to reduce your waiting time. We also encourage residents to visit the facility when it is open to ensure your safety”.

Here are more ways that we can stay warm and safe this winter:

1. Avoid queues: Reduce early queueing in cold and wet conditions by making use of the appointment system.              By scheduling your visit, you can ensure a smoother experience upon arrival.

  1. Arrive on time: Arriving on time not only helps us to manage queues but can reduce waiting times for others. If you cannot attend your appointment and need to reschedule, please reach out to your clinic to set a new date.
  2. Prioritising vulnerable groups: We understand the importance of protecting our vulnerable patients, such as the elderly and children during cold weather. We ask for your understanding as we prioritise their needs on bad weather days, ensuring their safety and well-being.
  3. Safety first: Your safety is important to us. Queueing in the dark poses a security risk, and we encourage visitors to arrive at the facility at least 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the arrangement with your facility) before their appointment, whenever possible. This precautionary measure ensures visibility and enhances overall safety.
  4. Speak to us, be heard: Your feedback matters. Whether it’s concerns about long queues or discomfort during cold weather conditions. Provide suggestions how we can improve services. We are committed to listening and improving our services. Help us serve you better by sharing your feedback with our facility managers through the following channels:
  • SMS: Send the word “Help” followed by your name, the nature of your suggestion or complaint, facility, and, if applicable, the name of a staff member to 31022.
  • Call: Dial 0860 142 142 and press “1” to speak with a representative.
  • Please Call Me: Reach out via 079 769 1207, and we’ll promptly assist you.
  • Email: Send your concerns to, and we’ll address them with care and urgency.
  • Share anonymous feedback: Share your concerns by adding your name or remaining anonymous. Simply add your feedback to your facility’s suggestion or complaints box.

Keeping healthy at home this winter

In addition to preparing for your visit, it’s important to protect your overall health during the colder month. Remember to stay proactive by getting your flu vaccine at your local clinic and making healthy choices to keep your immune system strong. Here are some additional tips for staying healthy this winter, including simple steps you can take at home:

  • Get your flu shot: Protect yourself and others by getting the flu vaccine. It’s one of the most effective ways to prevent seasonal flu and its complications. The vaccine, simply put, works by giving our bodies the necessary tools it needs to fight off the flu.
  • Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing, or touching common surfaces. Use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available. Remember to assist children by teaching them the importance of keeping their hands clean.
  • Stay active: Exercise regularly to boost your immune system and improve overall health. Even simple activities like walking or stretching indoors can make a difference. Join a community wellness group, if you are able to.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Take care of your body with healthy foods. Eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods can help support your immune system. If you require support, please speak to a healthcare worker who can refer you to a dietitian or social worker for support.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking water throughout the day protects your health. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
  • Get plenty of rest: Prioritise sleep and aim for 8 hours of quality sleep each night. A well-rested body is better equipped to fight infections.
  • Manage stress: Find healthy ways to cope with stress, speak to someone you trust if you’re feeling stressed or engage in hobbies you enjoy. If you need to speak to someone, remember you can reach out to a healthcare worker or make an appointment for professional support.
  • Take your medication: It is important to continue taking your medication, even if you are feeling better. Take your medication as discussed with your healthcare provider. If you have any questions about your medication, remember to reach out, speak to your healthcare provider or call your clinic.

Help us to keep you healthy and safe this winter, wellness starts with you and me. Remember to reach out if you have any questions or any concerns.


Nadia Ferreira
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health
Tel: 044 813 1831