An online survey completed by GPs, consultants, SAS doctors and trainees found that doctors generally value and support CPD as part of their professional practice.
But it also showed that while 78% of doctors said they were able to access necessary CPD activities, 22% said they were not.
The GMC said many doctors reported having to arrange and pay for CPD activities out of their own pocket and on their own time. This is particularly the case for locums, it said.
It said: ‘Many comments focused on the lack of or difficulty getting funding for larger or national CPD activities and often felt limited to local or free CPD, which was not necessarily appropriate for their specialty.
'There was also real concern that the current financial situation in the NHS would further limit access to CPD.'
It comes as the GMC launched two consultations on its new proposals for how it will support doctors’ professional development and what will be expected of doctors themselves.
The first consultation asks for feedback on what doctors and employers should be doing on CPD and how the GMC can support doctors in keeping up-to-date.
A second consultation seeks views on the supporting regulations that will set out the legal powers, rights and responsibilities which underpin the revalidation process.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said CPD will only work when the profession feels ownership of the process.
‘It cannot be about ticking boxes – if patients are to receive good care doctors must receive the right support – that means they are given the opportunities to maintain and develop their skills,' he said.
‘We hope that these consultations will shape the best possible systems to support every doctor’s professional development.’