Let’s work together to keep healthy and safe this winter | Western Cape Government


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

19 June 2024

The Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness 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 only arrive 30 minutes before your appointment.

Alfonso Patientia, the Primary Healthcare Manager for clinics in the Northern and Tygerberg sub-districts, encourages residents to make use of the appointment system and to reach out to local facility managers if they have any concerns.

“As we navigate the challenges of winter, 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. We ask that you only arrive 30 minutes before your appointment to reduce your waiting time. We also encourage residents to visit the facility when it is open to ensure your safety. If you are unhappy with your experience at our local clinics, please do let us know by using the correct channels, such as your facility manager, the facility suggestion box , your health committee or reaching out to the provincial client support centre to share your concerns.”


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. Contact your local clinic to make an appointment.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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 before their appointment, whenever possible. This precautionary measure ensures visibility and enhances overall safety.

5. 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 service@westerncape.gov.za, 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.


What about accessing emergency care?

You can access emergency care at your local clinic. Remember, we follow the triage system. This means that when you enter a facility, they are assessed and triaged to ensure that they are seen according to the degree of urgency their condition requires.

Patients are triaged green, yellow, orange or red, with red representing being the most urgent cases.

If you are triaged yellow and green and you do not require a life-saving intervention, this could mean that you will have a much longer waiting time if visiting a facility’s emergency centre, especially when it is very busy over weekends and after hours.

Find your closest clinic here: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/directories/facilities/944


Keeping healthy at home this winter

In addition to preparing for your visit, it's important to protect your overall health during the colder months. 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.