An agreement between the City of Athens and the Health Ministry was signed yesterday to upgrade seven municipal medical centers that have experienced a severe drop in the number of people using them. The deal foresees more medical staff being hired and more modern equipment being installed at the centers. It costs the City of Athens more than 10 million euros a year to run the clinics but the number of residents using them has dropped to its lowest level since they opened 16 years ago. In 1991, more than 120,000 people used the services at the medical centers. This figure dropped to fewer than 70,000 last year. Some 140 people are currently employed at the centers but, following yesterday’s agreement, funds will be provided to hire another 42 medical personnel. The government has committed to spending 100 million euros on the seven municipal medical clinics in Athens over the next five years as the centers are seen as a good way of preventing people with minor ailments from visiting state hospitals.