The Oireachtas health committee has agreed to invite the acting secretary general of the Department of Health and an internal whistleblower to hearings on the issues raised in an RTÉ Investigates programme.

The report highlighted the Department of Health's compilation of dossiers on families of children with autism engaged in litigation with the state.

This information was gathered from medical professionals without the consent of those involved.

Whistleblower Shane Corr will be asked to submit a report on the issues involved and he will then be called as a witness to a private hearing.

The committee will then invite the acting secretary general of the Department of Health, Robert Watt, to appear before it.

The Data Protection Commission is investigating the department's processing of personal data of children with autism involved in legal actions.

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has said the department will publish an independent review by a senior counsel of the issues raised in Mr Corr's protected disclosure, although this has not yet happened.

The department has said its advice is that the practice was legal.

It has said that at most 35 families were involved but they have not yet been informed.

The issues highighted in the programme have been condemned by the Ombudsman for Children and autism charities.

Sinn Féin's health spokesperson David Cullinane has said that the collecting and storing of sensitive information  on families as highlighted in the RTÉ Investigates programme raises very serious data protection and policy issues.

He said the practice was a breach of trust for families involved.