Continuing professional development (CPD) has traditionally been an autonomous, professional concern of doctors in the UK. In a changing educational and service climate, can individualized approaches to CPD be reconciled with adult learning principles and learning that is practice-based and multidisciplinary? A survey of the CPD of consultant and non-consultant career grade staff in Wales (UK) has provided some clues on how doctors perceive their learning needs in relation to those of Trust hospitals. It indicated that these doctors pursued traditional forms of continuing education (reading, lectures and meetings), gained clinical knowledge and changed their practice as a result. The majority saw themselves as accountable for CPD to their college and specialty. Trusts had yet to promote CPD as a clinical governance priority but respondents felt that appraisal helped to mediate individual and organizational perspectives of CPD. Most career-grade doctors believed their CPD activities met the needs of their employing organizations and felt satisfied with a 'traditional' approach to CPD. Doctors and service organizations may need to confront preconceptions regarding education and respective roles in the negotiation of CPD if team-based learning in practice is to become established.