Health chiefs have been asked for more details about their plans to close 19 beds for mental health patients in Hove.
The changes would affect people being treated at Mill View Hospital and the Nevill Hospital in Hangleton, reducing capacity in Brighton and Hove to 76 remaining beds.
The £1.2 million saving would be spent on improving community services, Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust said.
The trust said that it had been working hard to treat people at home whenever possible.
It said that the longer patients spent in hospital the more likely they were to lose their job, their friends, their confidence and their independence.
Brighton and Hove City Council members raised concerns about the changes and asked for more information at a meeting of the council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Dawn Barnett, who represents Hangleton and Knoll, said that there were not enough community psychiatric nurses to deal with the current number of patients being treated at home even before the proposed changes.
She wondered whether Sussex Partnership wanted to consolidate in-patient services on the site within Mill View so that the Nevill Hospital lease could be terminated.
Richard Ford, the trust’s executive director of strategic development, said that discussions around the lease risked straying into areas of commercial confidence.
But he added that if the trust had too few beds it would end up footing the bill for patients being treated in private hospitals.
Sam Allen, service director, said that the trust had worked hard to tackle delayed discharges and reduce the average length of time that patients spent in hospital.
Separately, Sussex Partnership board members were updated about the trust’s efforts to save £14 million this year at a board meeting on Wednesday (28 September).
Money-saving measures include freezing non-essential vacancies, cutting travel and utility costs and moving out of some of the trust’s older and more expensive buildings.
The trust has previously said that decisions about finances and service provision would be dictated by clinical need.