A postal survey of recently appointed consultant paediatricians was undertaken to determine whether they perceived their training had adequately equipped them for their current job. The response rate was 69% (207/299). After excluding replies from consultants trained outside the UK the analysis was carried out on 167 replies. Trainees held a mean 5.2 posts during general and higher professional training, necessitating a mean 1.8 house moves. Altogether 82% felt moves were beneficial to training but 46% found moves 'very disruptive' to family life. Only 12% of district general hospital and 22% of teaching hospital senior registrars took two research sessions a week. Supervision and training in research was absent or poor for more than 60%; 24% felt major changes and 55% moderate changes were needed to current training. Training in non-clinical skills was particularly in demand and a curriculum for both trainers and trainees with regular appraisals is required. Research at senior registrar level needs review and educational methods improved to achieve better training in a shorter period.