Talks between the Irish Medical Organisation and Health Service Executive aimed at resolving the row over excessive working hours for non-consultant hospital doctors have adjourned.

The talks at the Labour Relations Commission are due to resume tomorrow morning.

Earlier, IMO Head of Industrial Relations Steve Tweed said industrial action had only been suspended to allow the talks to take place.

He said the IMO attended at the meeting to listen to HSE proposals for what sanctions should apply in hospitals for future breaches of working time rules.

HSE Director of Human Resources Barry O'Brien said he was hopeful a solution could be found that would bring certainty and stability to the health service and remove the risk of further industrial action.

However, he ruled out any sanctions that would involve additional payments to doctors, saying these were precluded under existing agreements, including the Haddington Road Agreement.

The IMO is seeking what it calls meaningful sanctions for hospitals that fail to comply with the European Working Time Directive.

Around 3,000 NCHDs took part in the day-long action in protest over working hours, which the IMO said are in breach of the European Working Time Directive.