The Health Service Executive has said it is disappointed at the decision of two medical organisations not to re-enter negotiations today on a new contract for hospital consultants.

The Irish Hospital Consultants Association and the Irish Medical Organisation have pulled out of talks in a dispute over the executive's decision to end appointments which would allow consultants to carry out private work in another hospital.

The executive said its proposed reforms were based on providing the best possible hospital service.

It said the existing system, which allows consultants to pursue unlimited private practice in private hospitals, was illogical and militated against improving hospitals.