Statistical process control (SPC) charts have previously been advocated for infection control quality improvement. To determine their effectiveness, a multicentre randomised controlled trial was undertaken to explore whether monthly SPC feedback from infection control nurses (ICNs) to healthcare workers of ward-acquired meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (WA-MRSA) colonisation or infection rates would produce any reductions in incidence. Seventy-five wards in 24 hospitals in the UK were randomised into three arms: (1) wards receiving SPC chart feedback; (2) wards receiving SPC chart feedback in conjunction with structured diagnostic tools; and (3) control wards receiving neither type of feedback. Twenty-five months of pre-intervention WA-MRSA data were compared with 24 months of post-intervention data. Statistically significant and sustained decreases in WA-MRSA rates were identified in all three arms (P<0.001; P=0.015; P<0.001). The mean percentage reduction was 32.3% for wards receiving SPC feedback, 19.6% for wards receiving SPC and diagnostic feedback, and 23.1% for control wards, but with no significant difference between the control and intervention arms (P=0.23). There were significantly more post-intervention 'out-of-control' episodes (P=0.021) in the control arm (averages of 0.60, 0.28, and 0.28 for Control, SPC and SPC+Tools wards, respectively). Participants identified SPC charts as an effective communication tool and valuable for disseminating WA-MRSA data.