The former England football manager and Spurs star returned to St Bartholomew’s hospital today to launch a £1 million charity appeal.
He said the health professions who saved his life deserved to be earning “footballers’ salaries” as he told how good health had never been more important to him.
Hoddle underwent a quadruple heart bypass at Barts Heart Centre, part of the hospital’s Smithfield campus, after collapsing at the end of a BT Sport broadcast in October 2018.
He told the Standard: “They were just wonderful. What they did for me is quite incredible. Whoever is running that place has got it spot on, and the people there are a credit. The most important people in the world should be paid the extortionate money — the nurses and doctors and firefighters and police officers. In some ways we have got it back to front.”
Hoddle, who was celebrating his 61st birthday when he suffered the cardiac arrest in the TV studios in Stratford, was saved by sound engineer Simon Daniels, who started CPR chest compressions before a defibrillator was found.
“I owe him my life,” Hoddle said. “I would love to see every child come out of school having been trained with CPR. It’s not rocket science but could save someone’s life.”
The £234 million Barts Heart Centre, the biggest cardiovascular centre in Europe, opened in 2015 with £10.2 million from Barts Charity. Its appeal aims to raise funds for pioneering equipment such as surgical robots, heart pumps and 3D scanners.
Hoddle said: “For me, this is a bigger debate. The NHS has got to stay. It doesn’t matter if you are the Prime Minister or a guy walking the street, when you need help you need an ambulance as quick as possible, and that won’t be a private ambulance coming out.
“What we have got compared with other countries is incredible. We need to have pride in it. Your health is more important than anything. I have always had that philosophy, but since being saved by Simon I have it 20 times more.
“When you come close to death like I have, whatever material things you have in life, you can’t take them with you. People have to understand that your health is the main priority in anyone’s life.”
Hoddle has since discovered he had had atrial fibrillation for 15 years. The condition causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate.
He remains under the care of Barts. He had a defibrillator implanted in his chest to restart his heart if it stops again.