Since 2001 it has been mandatory for acute hospital Trusts (groups of hospitals under the same management) in England to report all cases of bacteraemia due to Staphylococcus aureus together with information on their susceptibility or resistance to methicillin. This allowed the incidence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia (expressed as the number of cases per 1000 occupied bed days) to be determined for each Trust. In late 2005, the scheme was enhanced to collect demographic, clinical and epidemiological information on each case using a web-based data collection system. Analysis of this mandatory dataset has provided important information on the trends in MRSA bacteraemia in England and has documented a year-on-year decrease in incidence since 2006, following a government initiative in which Trusts were tasked with halving their MRSA bacteraemia rates over a 3 year period. In addition, the enhanced mandatory surveillance scheme has captured a wealth of data that have helped to further define the epidemiology of MRSA bacteraemia. It is to be hoped that based on the English experience of mandatory surveillance, other countries will consider the implementation of similar schemes, not only for MRSA but for other pathogens of public health importance.