One of the main issues with specialty/higher training is that it is predicated on trainees knowing exactly what they want to do at a specific time. Career decisions, however, are made at different times for different people and for some, it may not be possible to determine exactly what their long-term goal is at application time. As a result, there are a range of alternatives that can be explored. A good guide to these is here.
It is important when looking at alternatives to consider your reasons, how long and what implications it may have for long term career prospects. Check with your colleagues who have taken time out to discuss their experiences, as well as with more senior colleagues. There may be a medical careers adviser available in your training area who can provide more information and advice.
The decision to leave medicine can happen at any stage in your training and/or career as a doctor. It is important to consider what factors have contributed to this and whether they are to do with the job, environment, location or other outside factors. Making an informed decision can seem daunting and you may not wish to discuss with your clinical colleagues. Check with your local education staff (if a trainee) about the possibility to discussing this with a medical careers adviser or a coach.
If you are certain medicine is not for you, then it is important to remember you have a range of very valuable skills and there are many alternatives for you to consider. There is a good overview here.
It is important to remember that there are paths to return to medicine in the future is you wish. Check with local postgraduate centre’s and the GMC about regaining your registration and/or license to practice.