University Hospital of South Manchester

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.

See the papers, reports, independent evaluations and textbooks on SAGE & THYME

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 patient

“A patient re-called to the assessment clinic following screening was very distressed. She was extremely anxious of what to expect. Her mother died of breast cancer and she thought she was going to be told she had cancer. S&T structure enabled the patient to talk through her anxieties; she became calmer as a result and was able to take some control of her situation.”


S&T foundation level workshop participant

Latest news

NHS Tayside - improving communication skills

1 February 2018

NHS Tayside adopted the SAGE & THYME training to complement their advanced communication skills programme.  The aim was to enable all staff in contact with patients, from a variety of backgrounds, to be taught how to listen to patients using a person-centred approach.

Nearly 100% of people who have attended the training would recommend it to others.  Staff, including healthcare support workers, say that they have more confidence in speaking to patients and carers about their concerns and show that they have learnt key aspects of effective communication.

To find out more about the benefits of the training to NHS Tayside, click here to go to the case study page.

NHS Tayside SAGE and THYME case study