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Healthcare accounting could be complicated by unprepared patients who are unable to pay their medical bills for private treatment from doctors, dentists, opticians and other professionals.

Figures from M&S Money show the unexpected bills that have caused the biggest problems for Britons in the past year.

More than half (52%) of those surveyed have found a car repair bill problematic, at an average unexpected cost of £268.

But at £263 per incident on average, doctors’, dentists’, opticians’ and other healthcare bills have caused almost as much of a financial headache for 37% of Brits.

The risk to healthcare accounting is compounded by the fact that many of those surveyed do not have a savings account with a substantial balance of funds that can be easily accessed.

“The old saying ‘it never rains but it pours’ can often be true when it comes to unexpected costs,” says M&S Money’s head of savings Paul Stokes.

“Contingency savings should be kept in an easy-access savings account, to ensure the money can be withdrawn quickly should you need it.”