The objectives of this study were (i) to assess the level of knowledge with respect to pain and symptom management among doctors in their first year after graduation and (ii) to measure the impact of a structured teaching programme on their level of knowledge. All 34 newly qualified junior house officers in one teaching hospital were offered a six-session teaching programme in pain and symptom management. A multiple-choice questionnaire was used to assess their level of knowledge at the beginning and at the end of a 6-month period over which the teaching sessions took place. Attendance at and satisfaction with the programme were high. There was a significant improvement in the level of knowledge at the end of the programme, with the greatest improvement in those who attended most sessions. The low scores recorded for the questionnaire administered before the teaching programme suggest that there is a critical need for improved education in palliative care amongst newly qualified doctors. We have shown that a simple in-service case-based teaching programme can meet this need effectively.