Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) remains endemic in many UK hospitals. Specific guidelines for control and prevention are justified because MRSA causes serious illness and results in significant additional healthcare costs. Guidelines were drafted by a multi-disciplinary group and these have been finalised following extensive consultation. The recommendations have been graded according to the strength of evidence. Surveillance of MRSA should be undertaken in a systematic way and should be fed back routinely to healthcare staff. The inappropriate or unnecessary use of antibiotics should be avoided, and this will also reduce the likelihood of the emergence and spread of strains with reduced susceptibility to glycopeptides, i.e. vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus/glycopeptide-intermediate S. aureus (VISA/GISA) and vancomycin-resistant S. aureus (VRSA). Screening for MRSA carriage in selected patients and clinical areas should be performed according to locally agreed criteria based upon assessment of the risks and consequences of transmission and infection. Nasal and skin decolonization should be considered in certain categories of patients. The general principles of infection control should be adopted for patients with MRSA, including patient isolation and the appropriate cleaning and decontamination of clinical areas. Inadequate staffing, especially amongst nurses, contributes to the increased prevalence of MRSA. Laboratories should notify the relevant national authorities if VISA/GISA or VRSA isolates are identified.