Ancillary (general)

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 1 Apr 2020

The term ancillary is used in medicine to refer to diagnostic or therapeutic procedures which are supplementary to the main tests or treatments. By extension it is also employed for secondary clinical/radiological signs that support a diagnosis.

It is also used in the sense of ancillary staff, which in the hospital setting is usually used to refer to the non-medical and non-nursing staff in clinical areas, e.g. health care assistants, auxiliaries, orderlies, etc.

History and etymology

The word ancillary is derived from the Latin word "ancilla" meaning a female servant, itself derived from the word "anculus" meaning a manservant 1,2.

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