NHS Manchester University

Welcome to SAGE & THYME ®

SAGE & THYME: a communication skills workshop about listening to people who are worried.


‘SAGE & THYME’ is a mnemonic that provides a memorable structure for conversations, based on the evidence behind effective communication skills: Setting – Ask – Gather – Empathy – Talk – Help - You – Me – End.  

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The SAGE & THYME foundation level workshop is taught to 30 participants in 3 hours using three trained SAGE & THYME facilitators, using group work, a presentation and conversation rehearsals.

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There are over 10 publications on SAGE & THYME.

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The SAGE & THYME foundation level workshop has been adopted by over 60 NHS Trusts, CCGs, charities, councils, universities and hospices around the UK.

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Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) in collaboration with TRUSTECH, teaches (via the SATFAC course) and licences other organisations to deliver SAGE & THYME foundation level workshops to their staff, students and volunteers.

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The SAGE & THYME for advance care planning workshop (S&T ACP) was developed with the Lancashire and South Cumbria Cancer Network.  It teaches effective communication skills to open an advance care planning conversation, and is suitable for GPs, community matrons and other staff who have experience of advance care planning.  

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Impact on staff

“Busy ward, busy workload, patient displaying emotions and concerns pre-op (due for surgery today). Use model to delay further discussion to appropriate time. Again use model to discuss concerns after busy time passed to structure conversation.”


S&T foundation level workshop participant

Latest news

1 in 5 NHS Trusts in England running SAGE & THYME training

9 April 2018

Listening to patients is a key part of their care in the NHS. Helping them to talk through their concerns can provide effective support, by allowing patients to think clearly and consider what might help them. Foundation level communication skills facilitate listening to patients and the SAGE & THYME Foundation Level workshop is believed to be the most widespread training programme teaching these skills - it is currently being taught in 1 in 5 acute, community, mental health, and ambulance Trusts in England.