A decision to close Carlisle's Acorn mental health unit will be scrutinised by councillors.

It was announced this week that the men-only rehabilitation ward will shut.

Instead patients will be cared for in the community or at more specialised units in the north east.

The Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee will discuss it at its next meeting, in October.

However it is likely to be too late, as changes are already set to be in place by then.

Ruth Alcroft, Labour's next MP candidate for Carlisle, has written to bosses - who insist the changes will improve care - asking for reassurances on several matters.

Gary O'Hare, executive director of mental health at the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said that closing the unit is part of a wider improvement plan.

He said the current unit is not meeting the needs of each individual patient.

Meanwhile female patients with complex mental health needs who need inpatient rehabilitation are currently sent all over the country as there are no beds locally.

But Mrs Alcroft, who said she has already had many calls from local residents about the closure, said more detail about the changes are needed.

"My first thoughts were concerns about services going out of Cumbria, but I want to find out more about the alternative provision that is going to be put in place," she explained.

"I've written to Mr O'Hare to ask for clarification on three particular issues.

"What will be done to provide better services to patients currently on Acorn?

"Can we have assurances that services will be available to the people who need them, and we have got the staff and beds we need to treat vulnerable people in Cumbria.

"How are we going to support patients and families who are moved out of Cumbria?

"There's always a fear in Cumbria that services are being cut. They have said this is going to mean better care, but I will be pushing to make sure that happens."

Mental health bosses said they informed the Cumbria Health Scrutiny Committee - made up of county and district councillors - about the closure ahead of announcing it publicly.

Its role is to look in detail at NHS service changes and hold bosses to account.

Members have the power to refer matters to the Secretary of State if they feel they will be to the detriment of patients. Its next meeting is scheduled for October 7.