On-going developments in Britain’s healthcare services are placing great demands on its workforce. If high quality care is to be maintained, education and training is needed to provide staff with the necessary knowledge and skills to adapt to their changing roles. A recent research project looking at the education and training needs of non-specialist staff caring for people with cancer identified a number of barriers that prevent education and training from meeting its full potential. These barriers include time, accessibility, financial issues, staff motivation and marketing and advertising and are discussed in this paper together with some possible solutions to overcome them. It is concluded that the planning and development of education and training must address these barriers if it is to be successful in increasing the knowledge and skills of staff, and thereby improve the quality of patient care.