The Irish Medical Organisation's Director of Industrial Relations has said he hopes there will be an improvement in patient care as a result of a new agreement on working hours for doctors.

Steve Tweed said IMO members had put a lot of trust in the Health Service Executive to deliver on the new agreement.

The agreement includes sanctions for hospitals if they breach rules on working hours.

Under the proposals, Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors will only be able to work shifts of up to a maximum of 24 hours.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Tweed said the campaign on working hours was all about delivering quality care for patients.

"If you are dealing with a doctor who has been on his or her feet for 36 hours mistakes can be made."

Mr Tweed said the sanction system was quite an incentive for hospitals to follow the rules.

He said that he hoped the hospitals would not be in a situation where they lost money.

The unique industrial relations agreement was taking money out of doctors' pockets as they will not be working previous levels of overtime, he added.

However, he said it allowed for a more acceptable work/life balance.

"This was all about patient care, and the delivery of proper quality care to patients. We hopefully will see an improvement in care to the patients," he said.