Sussex Cancer Fund Empowers Oncology Staff with Sage & Thyme Training

Laura Pritchard, Lead for Psychological Therapies, with Facilitators Josie Darling & Mark Danieletto

In an exciting initiative to enhance the quality of care for cancer patients, the Sussex Cancer Fund has recently funded a two-year license for the Sage & Thyme course at Sussex University Hospital Trust, Sussex County Hospital. This commendable effort not only covers the cost of the course but also extends to training four new facilitators. The impact of this support is significant, particularly for oncology staff, as it equips them with valuable skills to navigate the emotional complexities of patient care.

Understanding Sage & Thyme:

The Sage & Thyme course is renowned for its empathetic communication training, providing healthcare professionals with a structured approach to handling difficult conversations. Originating from the United Kingdom, this evidence-based program focuses on enhancing communication skills and promoting emotional well-being among healthcare providers. The goal is to create a supportive environment for both patients and staff, which is especially crucial in the demanding field of oncology.

Funding for Impact:

The Sussex Cancer Fund’s commitment to funding the Sage & Thyme course for two years reflects a strategic investment in the well-being of oncology staff and, consequently, the overall patient experience. This support not only covers the costs of the course materials but also extends to the crucial element of training new facilitators. The ripple effect of this investment will undoubtedly contribute to a culture of compassionate care within the hospitals.

Benefits of the Training:

Enhanced Communication Skills: Sage & Thyme training provides oncology staff with effective communication tools, enabling them to navigate challenging conversations with patients and their families. This skill set is invaluable in delivering information, discussing treatment options, and addressing emotional concerns.

Improved Emotional Resilience: Dealing with cancer patients requires a high level of emotional resilience. The Sage & Thyme course empowers oncology staff with techniques to manage their emotions, preventing burnout and fostering a healthier work environment.

Patient-Centered Care: By honing their communication skills, oncology staff can tailor their approach to each patient’s unique needs. This patient-centered care approach not only enhances the overall experience for individuals undergoing cancer treatment but also fosters a sense of trust and collaboration.

Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Effective communication can significantly reduce stress and anxiety levels for both patients and healthcare providers. The Sage & Thyme training equips oncology staff with tools to navigate emotionally charged situations, promoting a more calming and supportive atmosphere.


The license allows the course to be run 10 times a year, with up to 30 individuals receiving training and will benefit staff from throughout University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, and also surrounding hospices, private hospitals and the Macmillan Horizon Centre, so the trickle-down effect could mean that many hundreds or thousands of patients could ultimately benefit from the course. At the Trust, the Sage & Tyme Training is headed by Laura Pritchard, Lead for Psychological Therapies with her team of facilitators, and attendee feedback rates the course as Good to Excellent.


The Sussex Cancer Fund’s commitment to funding the Sage & Thyme course at Sussex University Hospital Trust and Sussex County Hospital is a testament to its dedication to improving the cancer care landscape. By investing in the training of oncology staff, the fund is ensuring that patients receive not only state-of-the-art medical treatment but also compassionate and empathetic care. This initiative marks a significant step forward in creating a healthcare environment where the human side of medicine is prioritised, ultimately benefiting patients, families, and healthcare professionals.


If you would like to contribute to this or other Sussex Cancer Fund programmes, please do so via the donation button below:

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