NHS Manchester University

Welcome to SAGE & THYME ®

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

We now have online versions of some of our training - see here.


‘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 by three trained SAGE & THYME facilitators, using group work, a presentation and conversation rehearsals.

The SAGE & THYME Online workshop (equivalent to SAGE & THYME Foundation Level and delivered normally on Zoom) is taught to 20 participants in 2 hours 45 min by two trained SAGE & THYME facilitators, using group work, a presentation and conversation rehearsals.

Find out more about  the SAGE & THYME foundation level workshop

Find out more about SAGE & THYME Online

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.

Read case studies

See which organisations run the workshop

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

Find out about running the SAGE & THYME foundation level workshop in your organisation

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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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Impact on student

“I used SAGE & THYME with one of our NVQ candidates. She came to see me, very upset and crying, not wishing to complete her NVQ. 2 months after our conversation, she has completed her NVQ!”


S&T foundation level workshop participant

Latest news

SAGE & THYME contribution to COVID recovery plans

6 May 2021

Following the high level of COVID cases in the UK and intense pressure on NHS staff over the winter, the NHS is now planning its recovery.

This is focussing on rebuilding services, reducing waiting times and supporting staff whose health and well being has been affected by the pandemic.

Using SAGE & THYME in conversations can support this recovery as follows:

  • Waiting times: when speaking to patients about their concerns related to the impact of having their procedures or treatment delayed due to long waiting times
  • Service changes: when explaining that the service patients access is being changed or moved to a new location, and they are worried about how they will cope with this
  • Staff well being: staff report feeling more confident, in control and satisfied when they are able to support a patient using the SAGE & THYME structure in a conversation. 

We now deliver SAGE & THYME training online - click here for more info.

Man with his hands covering his face
Image by Malgorzata Tomczak from Pixabay