The introduction of mandatory surveillance of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemias and targets in England has led to reductions in most hospitals. However, reductions were difficult to demonstrate at Peterborough & Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as MRSA bacteraemia was already an uncommon event. The authors questioned the efficacy of monitoring bacteraemias in a low-prevalence hospital, and this study sought to determine the accuracy of measuring bacteraemias compared with all clinical isolates (excluding bacteraemias; e.g. wound, sputa, urine) to assess the effectiveness of interventions. Over the six-year study period, a significant reduction was seen in MRSA in clinical specimens and new MRSA carriers identified by screening, whereas the MRSA bacteraemia rate remained at low levels. The measurement of clinical isolates may be more useful for assessment of the effectiveness of interventions now that MRSA bacteraemia rates have fallen to low levels almost universally across the UK.