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

“I am able to confidently move assessments forward - no longer become sidetracked. Can confidently close interviews without feeling I may have brought things to an abrupt end.”

S&T foundation level workshop participant

Latest news

Raising awareness of advance care planning for Dying Matters week

14 May 2018

Dying Matters week is an annual event to raise the profile of talking about dying, death and bereavement. Giving a terminally ill person the chance to plan their end of life, allows them to indicate their wishes around their care when their condition deteriorates, in the event that they no longer have the capacity to make decisions, and/or the ability to communicate their wishes to others in the future. These wishes are recorded in an advance care plan.

Professionals responsible for discussing advance care planning with patients include GPs, senior nurses and social care staff. They often report that they don't know how to open such discussions and then structure the conversation, whilst supporting the patient with their concerns. The SAGE & THYME for Advance Care Planning (ACP) workshop teaches staff who have knowledge on the processes and procedures (e.g. Gold Standards Framework) around ACP, how to speak with patients.