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.

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.  

Find out more about SAGE & THYME ACP

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Researchers communicating with distressed patients

“We had had numerous requests to provide training on informed consent and communicating with distressed patients.  The requests came from all different types of clinical research staff and this course met the needs for all of them.  I have confidence in recommending it to other research networks.”


Dr Gill Hood, Workforce Development and Patient Public Initiatives for the NWL CRN

Latest news

Shelford Group uses SAGE & THYME training

4 February 2019

The Shelford Group is a collaboration between ten of the largest teaching and research NHS Trusts in England (including Trusts in Cambridge, Oxford, London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester).

The Group was formed in 2011 and aims to shares learning between members and initiate joint projects for large-scale improvement in the NHS.  Many NHS Trusts use data from the leading Shelford organisations to benchmark their own performance.

Nine of the NHS Trusts within the Group run the SAGE & THYME Foundation Level workshop - either under their own licence, or under a network licence held by another organisation.

This demonstrates how SAGE & THYME training is now the most established foundation level communication skills training programme for NHS staff.