[Excerpt from publisher] Nurses and midwives face the challenge of embracing new methods of care delivery which will provide a quality service that is truly people-centred. Important professional development issues were raised by nurses and midwives in the consultation process which formed the basis for Agenda for the Future Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery. Many nurses and midwives expressed concern regarding continuing professional development (CPD) activities from a number of aspects, namely equity of access, relevance to practice, integration of new knowledge into practice, limited opportunities to access and engage in CPD due to staff shortages, and changes in skill mix. They also described engagement of staff in CPD activities from an organisational point of view as being 'ad hoc' with no pre-determined professional development plans for the individual nurse or midwife, nor with reference to service requirements at ward or unit level. There is growing evidence of the need to link CPD with organisational goals. The construction of career pathways in a healthcare system which is subject to radical and far-reaching change is an issue of growing importance to nurses and midwives.